MiFID II is fast approaching, but the prospect of its
January 2018 implementation is doing little to quell demand for
access to executive teams at European corporations as
well as access for these teams to the buy side.
For the first time, Institutional Investors All-Europe
Corporate Access ranking has collected responses from both
sides of the corporate access equation: Those buy-side firms
that rely on their sell-side partners to provide access to
corporate executive teams, and the corporate investor relations
executives who want access to the buy side.
In this inaugural iteration of the investor relations poll
which saw 318 participants ranking sell-side firms from
the corporate vantage point Bank of America Merrill
Lynch and J.P. Morgan Cazenove tie for first place with four
total positions each. Berenberg, Kepler Cheuvreux, and Morgan
Stanley tie for third with three team positions.
Events, of course, are central to corporate access, and few
do it better than Hamburg-based Berenberg. One standout event
is its Pennyhill conference in December in the U.K., which
brings together 150 corporations and more than 400 investors
from the U.S. and Europe over four days. The conference has a
warm and fuzzy feeling, says Olivia Lee, global
head of corporate access at Berenberg. One of the strategies
making Berenbergs conferences so successful has been to
hold events just outside of the major cities rather than in a
central location. This discourages attendees from drifting in
and out, Lee explains.
But even more than physical events, the key to
Berenbergs corporate access is its strong research,
bolstered by the quick note system the firm uses,
Lee said. After speaking with an investor about a certain
stock, salespeople make note of the conversation in an internal
system. Berenberg can then suggest to corporate executives
where to travel to meet interested investors.
In a MiFID II environment, thats going to be
crucial, Lee says of Berenbergs research data,
adding that that level of detail is lacking at most other
For the buy-side point of view, II surveyed more than 1,100
investors at 565 firms. These investors who collectively
oversee about $4.7 trillion in European equities
evaluated sell-side firms in 32 industry sectors on arranging
meetings with executives, setting up site visits, hosting
investor conferences, and organizing nondeal road shows.
In a shift from the 2016 edition of the All-Europe Corporate
Access ranking, UBS takes the top spot this year, replacing
Bank of America Merrill Lynch. UBS has 21 positions, five in
first place. Though BofA Merrill slips to second place with 20
overall positions, the firm claims the highest number of
first-place teams, with eight. J.P. Morgan Cazenove comes in at
third place with 18 total positions.
Investors are increasingly interested in thematic topics
such as politics, notes Pilar Rocafort, head of EMEA corporate
access and global consumer specialist sales at UBS. The firm
hosted panels on such populist trends as Brexit, the upcoming
elections in France, and then-president-elect Trumps
likely policies at its November European Conference in London,
combining the exploration of these topics with networking
between investors and executives.
Additional themes on investors minds include
cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, says Patricia
Lefranc, head of corporate and expert access at J.P. Morgan
Cazenove, which has added those discussions to its recent
events. In an increasingly volatile time, investors value
macro input, she observes.
Ashley Pittard, head of global equities at Australian firm
BT Investment Management, praises UBSs conferences for
their broad lineup of top management and the
firms willingness to conduct teleconferences when
management are in Asia. Pittard adds that it would be
good to have a cluster of conferences together, even if
from different brokers, thus reducing travel time from
Ultimately, several of the top-ranked firms in IIs
2017 ranking believe that while the realities of MiFID II are
months away, each will continue to see strong demand for
access, even as the industry remains extremely
competitive, according to Lefranc.
Berenbergs Lee holds the most optimistic view.
MiFID II may be beneficial for us, she suggests.
[Other] banks will have to drop coverage, but we have no
intention of reducing our coverage.