Institutional investors have regarded Tom Astle as a top-ranked tech analyst for years. His new boss, who is also is old boss, is betting Mr. Astle can teach his client-friendly skills to the next generation of analysts. Mr. Astle stepped down as the tech hardware analyst at National Bank Financial last week to become the head of research at Dundee Wealth Financial. He has also worked at Merrill Lynch. Mr. Astle will be a player-coach, charged with helping to builder a mid-sized dealer with big-time ambitions. He replaces Robert Reid, who left Dundee. The CEO who sold Mr. Astle on the concept of running a research department is Kym Anthony, who used to run National Bank Financial (along with TD Securities) and has brought over a number of former colleagues since joining Dundee early in 2006. National Bank Financial is now weighing internal and external cadidates for its tech position.