First-Place Appearances: 5
Total Appearances: 14
Team Debut: 2000
For the fifth time since 2009, UBS’s squad led by Michael Briest secures the top position. Investors praise this London-based duo, which rises from second place, for producing “some great research thanks to an exceptional balance of financial, strategic, technological and investment insights,” as one portfolio manager puts it. The analysts track 18 names and warn that the market has not yet grasped the full impact that cloud computing is likely to have on the industry. “The market knows this transition is coming, or thinks it does, but could yet still be surprised at the pace of change,” says Briest, 41. “And the shares could suffer if investors become increasingly nervous that market share will be lost during the transition to the cloud, or that in the long term margins in the cloud will not match those seen on-premise today.” One company they believe has been vulnerable to a shift to cloud computing is German industry giant SAP, whose shares the team reduced from buy to neutral in June, also citing the tough year-to-year license comparatives the company was facing. At year’s end, SAP’s stock was up 1.4 percent since the downgrade, to €62.31, against a sector increase of 3.4 percent. Europe’s software space still offers some good news, however. “The services sector is still relatively inexpensive,” Briest explains. “And while the growth outlook in Europe isn’t that exciting, expectations are well grounded, so we could see continued outperformance — although the easy money was made in 2013.”
See also Michael Briest’s profile in the 2013 All-Europe Research Team and 2012 All-Europe Research Team.