BNP’s Sugimoto Said to Leave as Japan Car Analyst Moves Rise

Koichi Sugimoto, who oversees automotive research at BNP Paribas SA in Tokyo, is planning to depart the company, two people familiar with the matter said.

Sugimoto, who joined BNP Paribas in May 2011, is poised to leave in January, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the person is not authorized to discuss the move with the media.

Excluding Sugimoto, at least five automotive analysts in Japan have changed jobs since April, according to a tally by Bloomberg News. Other changes include Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities hiring former Citigroup Inc. Managing Director Noriyuki Matsushima, Barclays Plc employing Tatsuo Yoshida from Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley and UBS AG hiring Kohei Takahashi from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Every brokerage wants a senior auto analyst, because you need someone that can add value right away as junior analysts will not get a lot of investors’ attention,” said Jan Wagener, senior consultant at Tokyo-based recruiter Experis TMJ YK. “This urgent need for senior auto analysts is the reason for the current big merry-go-round.”

Japanese shares have climbed as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to re-energize Japan Inc. after years of deflation and population declines reduced manufacturers’ incentive to expand at home. The Topix index has gained 46 percent this year.

“The automotive industry has a large presence in Japan, so I’m not surprised movement has come from this sector,” said Adam Johnston, Tokyo-based managing director at Robert Half International Inc., which provides professional staffing services. “The biggest trigger is that confidence is back in Japan.”

Prior to joining BNP Paribas, Sugimoto worked at Nomura Holdings Inc. and Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co. He is a graduate of Kyoto University.

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