Michael Briest & team

After four years in the top spot, the UBS duo led by London-based Michael Briest slips to second place. The analysts upgraded Sage Group from neutral to buy in May, at 263p, when the U.K.-based business software developer announced that it was increasing its dividend payment by 30 percent, to 3.48p. In July, after the stock had surged 13.7 percent, to 298.90p, they cut it back to neutral, on valuation. By the end of the year, the shares had dipped 1.5 percent, to 294.30p. Overall, the sector gained 42.6 percent last year and “is no longer so obviously cheap,” Briest says. “Over the past few months, we have downgraded a number of stocks to neutral to reflect this.” The move to cloud-based delivery of software is likely to continue in 2013, he adds, thus posing challenges to traditional license-led models. Briest is “an outstanding resource,” declares one money manager, while another appreciates that the team leader is “unusually balanced in his approach to companies.” — Pam Baker