What with monitoring market activity and economic data, meeting
with managements and kicking the tires, so to speak, at the
companies they cover, sell-side equity analysts dont have
as much time as they might like for direct interaction with
clients. That role often falls to the members of a firms
sales team, who promote the analysts research, arrange
meetings with corporate executives, coordinate road shows and
perform a thousand other tasks that fall under the general
heading of customer service.
A good institutional sales team understands research
from the clients perspective, one U.S.-based
participant in the 2011 All-America Research Team told
Institutional Investor. (We keep confidential the identities of
the survey respondents and their firms to ensure their
continuing cooperation.) The team has to have a good
understanding of our investment process and recommend research
that fits our style.
We asked this money manager and others who cast votes in
this years survey to tell us which firms field the best
teams when it comes to U.S. equity research sales. We heard
from investment professionals at roughly 90 percent of the
participating buy-side institutions; these firms control three
out of every four of the $12.7 trillion invested in U.S.
equities. (In the navigation table to the right, click on
Methodology for more information about how this ranking was
When it comes to sales, Morgan Stanley is the clear favorite
and takes the top spot on the inaugural
All-America Sales Team.
The team at Morgan Stanley has done an excellent job
of providing access to analysts in a timely fashion, says
one buy-side backer. They also provide value-added ideas
and trading color for the sector and the companies
that we cover.
A portfolio manager from China is similarly enthusiastic.
Morgan Stanleys U.S. sales team has the broadest
coverage and the most proactive attitude they tailor
their services not just for different clients, but even for
different individuals within the same client firm, this
survey participant says.
Nick Savone, who with Suzanne Charnas directs Morgan
Stanleys U.S. equity research sales efforts, notes that
clients are becoming increasingly global in their
approach as they need to consider the impact of macroeconomic
forces in their analysis. The firms analysts
collaborate across regions and investment disciplines to
deliver broad-based research to clients.
In post-polling interviews with respondents, some money
managers told us about certain reps who they felt deserved
special recognition. Among the comments we heard: Laura
Adams understands my strategy and is very helpful in screening
analyst content I leverage her thorough knowledge of the
Morgan Stanley research product and thereby save time in
evaluating ideas; John Kelly is one of the most
thorough and diligent sell-side representatives in the
industry; London-based Guy Trust has a unique
fundamental understanding of our investment process and
therefore provides great tailor-made service its
all about taking the time to understand what we are looking
for, and he takes that time; and technology sector
specialist Tom Wigg has excellent context and relays it
on a timely basis, with a one-stop e-mail or call about what is
happening in tech.
Austin Zeigler was cited most often, with clients noting
that the utilities specialist is very proactive and well
informed about the sector his earnings summaries and
weekly calendars are very useful tools, and another
pointing out that Zeigler is very timely and very
thorough, and he does it all without the support of a
utility-sector industry analyst which makes it all the
J.P. Morgan was deemed to have the second-best sales force.
Its all about service and J.P. Morgan
provides a high level of it, insists one supporter.
Terrific team all around, adds another.
Whenever Ive asked them for something, the
turnaround time is immediate. Whatever Ive asked for,
theyve always gone out of their way to get it for me.
They are the definition of a helpful sales team they
dont bombard you with unnecessary stuff, they just give
you what you need to do your job well.
Several clients pointed to the teams ability to access
the firms expansive platform. They leverage the
resources available to them including equities, sovereigns,
corporates, high yield, foreign exchange, commodities, politics
and more, says one New York-based asset manager, while a
buy-side enthusiast from the opposite coast declares that
J.P. Morgan has one of the most comprehensive suites of
research offerings out there, across sectors and asset classes,
and our rep does a great job of sending the most relevant
research and calling daily to try to answer our questions, get
feedback, talk about upcoming events, and coordinate follow-up
with analysts when necessary.
Michael Bossidy, a 12-year veteran of J.P. Morgan who
oversees distribution for the Americas, notes that client
expectations have changed amid the global financial
Previewing and reviewing quarters has taken a back
seat to more dynamic research, Bossidy says.
Clients continue to look for research on companies they
cant gain from their general portfolio management or
analyst seat. This speaks to items such as product sizing,
product launches, plant developments, market developments,
pricing developments, sizing of growth and margin
opportunities, client surveys, market trends, product surveys,
and insights into supply chains.
To gather this information, the 61-strong J.P. Morgan squad
supporting U.S. equity research sales has offices in London to
serve clients across Europe, and in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago,
New York, St. Louis and San Francisco to work with clients in
Investors are impressed. They know the names in our
portfolios and are able to get us in front of relevant
management teams it also helps that they understand how
each of our portfolio managers likes to receive research,
says one. We also never have a problem getting into
conferences or access to analysts.
BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, which comes in fourth,
has a sales team that is extremely responsive and knows
how to leverage its best-in-class in-house research,
observes one satisfied client. Some of the most valuable
company management meetings Ive had were through BofA,
because their sales team understands what we are interested in
and their analysts have the network to get those
What interests investors most these days? Macro
thematics and global sector coverage are increasingly important
in a world shying away from single-stock risk, observes
Steve Keller, head of Americas equity research sales. However,
even in these times of macro themes we know our clients
value alpha-generating ideas and our research department is
focused on this effort.
Keller manages a team of 60 salespeople in 11 offices around
the world: Hong Kong and Tokyo in Asia; Frankfurt, London,
Paris and Zurich in Europe; and Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New
York and San Francisco in the U.S. About 70 percent of his
staff is U.S.-based, he adds.
This team is also praised for its talent in accessing a
platform that extends beyond equities. We have sales
coverage across multiple asset classes high-yield bonds,
convertibles, credit default swaps, options. Between all those
professionals they do a good job coordinating events and
meetings and shooting us relevant research.
Some salespeople were singled out for special praise. John
Guster is responsive and often attends the meetings
himself to better understand the issues that concern us,
we were told, while media specialist Joel Armijo is a
great source of information.
One asset manager in the New York City area rolled out the
superlatives when talking about BofA: Theyre the
best sales team on the Street hands down
UPDATE: This article has been revised to show
Deutsche Bank Securities finishing in third place, BofA Merrill
Lynch Global Research coming in fourth and Barclays Capital
landing at No. 5. The original article was based on results
incorrectly reported, owing to a programming error. The leaders
table is correct as originally posted.