Has the Bear Stearns European credit research team gone out to breakfast? The head of the department, Phil Crate, says the group had "a mind blowing experience" that ended in the revamping of the look of its morning briefing, as well as getting a chance to poke fun at the team's new U.S. paymasters. Their morning notes are now called the Bagel Bar, and feature a large cup of coffee and two bagels with the words 'credit' and 'news' on them, and can be found on investors' computers everywhere. The team recently switched from BNP Paribas. "I like the new look," says Esperanza Duncan, analyst at J.P. Morgan Asset Management in London. "But, the truth is I would have read it even if it didn't feature the food because I like their research."
"When we were part of BNP-Paribas we produced the Breakfast Buffet that had a continental flavor, but it was copyrighted so we couldn't use it," says Crate. Instead the group had a brainstorming session on ways to grab investor's attentions, and--as the report is published in the morning, Americans eat lots of bagels and Bear Stearns is an American company--settled on Bagel Bar. "The morning notes capture important corporate stories that happened overnight, and we're trying to produce a concise piece that will be seen as a source for investors' daily meetings," says Crate. However, the Bagel Bar is suffering from jet lag, as it comes out just as the market opens in New York, but isn't seen by European investors until about 11:30 a.m. "We're working on that," says Crate.