"The more anonymous, the better," said one bank insider.
That's because the material he writes is designed for a very specific audience: the bank's clients, including mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, banks, and anybody who manages assets. And although the analysis is written through a financial and policy lens, its conclusions can sometimes read just like the same thing you might hear from a panelist on CNN's election night coverage, handicapping the chances of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Which raises the question: Why do the banks bother? The answer, say the people who compose the reports, is that there's enormous demand from clients to understand the election and what it means in very specific ways for their money.
And that has the banks churning out reams of political analysis. "Trump is here for the long haul, with both strong finances and core support that should assure that he at least contends in most of the upcoming contests," wrote Morgan Stanley's government relations team in a client note on Feb. 10. "From here, the primary schedule heats up quickly and floundering campaigns quickly lose viability, making the vote and endorsement chase important for those that remain."
Who wrote that? The bank won't say. A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to make the authors available for an interview, sending a short email to CNBC saying: "At this time we cannot accommodate your request."
The big bank political analysis is not widely disseminated inside the Beltway. Even so, political figures with a finance or economics bent seek them out.
"They're much more data driven than the impressionistic and poll-driven stuff you get on the networks, that's their strength and their weakness," said former Biden economic advisor Jared Bernstein. "They do a good job accounting for the economy's impact, but they don't pick up the weird altercations you see in the debates, stuff that drives cable news."
It's a small group. At Citigroup, Tina Fordham serves as the firm's chief global political analyst. Citi says she focuses on "vox populi" risk, that public opinion can be a risk factor for investors. She's focused on global instability and geopolitical dynamics. In a presentation in June, Fordham looked at flashpoints around the world, including the Russian relationship with the West, the rise of ISIS and EU elections. As for the U.S., she wrote, political polarization was likely to mean legislative gridlock, "but economic momentum and favorable demographics help blunt, but not eliminate, the impact of middle class anxiety."
At Credit Suisse, political analysis is conducted by Margaret Gage, who headlined one recent client note "Super Tuesday: It's All About That Base." Predicting the results in South Carolina, Credit Suisse wrote, "We believe the Clinton, Sanders tie will soon come to an end, starting with Saturday's showdown in South Carolina." In the end, Credit Suisse was right — Clinton won the state.
At Goldman Sachs, analyst Alec Phillips writes client notes on the election. "The ongoing presidential nomination contest lacks any precedent in the modern era of presidential primary process, which began in earnest only in the 1970s," Phillips wrote in a note to clients on March 8. "Outsider candidates have emerged in several previous elections but have never seriously contested either party's nomination, let alone both at the same time."
At Guggenheim Securities, Chris Krueger peppers his political analysis with shoutouts to classic rock songs. On Wednesday, his analysis of the Michigan primary was entitled "Detroit Rock City," after the Kiss rock anthem.