Europe’s Best of the Buy Side

Annual ranking of Europe’s top equity researchers.


At this time last year, many sell-side equity research analysts in Europe and the U.K. were wondering if there might be better opportunities on the buy side. Massive credit-related losses stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis that began in the U.S. and sent shock waves around the world were prompting bulge-bracket firms to slash budgets and cut staff, including equity research analysts. But buy-side firms and hedge funds were still hiring.

In the months since, the crisis has grown into the greatest global downturn in decades. Buy-side firms have seen their asset balances knocked down by the one-two punch of market depreciation and record investor outflows, the hedge fund industry has been hammered, and the market for equity analysts has all but evaporated.

“Compared with 12 to 15 months ago, there are now many more buy-side research candidates on the market and, as a result, competition between these individuals for the available jobs is fiercely competitive,” says Kirsty Holland, manager of the asset management division at Morgan McKinley, a London-based financial services recruiting firm.

Opportunities do exist, but only for the best analysts — the very people who are least likely to be out of a job, explains Andrew Hanson, London-based director of financial services recruiting at executive search firm Robert Walters. “People are cautious about moving, and employers are doing all they can to keep their top talent,” he says.

To be considered top talent, a buy-side analyst must understand the ups and downs of daily issues that drive share prices, communicate to portfolio managers the information they need to devise strategies for staying ahead of volatility and gauge the timing of the market’s turns so that managers can move from defensive stocks to undervalued names that will bounce when the market hits bottom. Analysts with such myriad skills can be found on Europe’s Best of the Buy Side, Institutional Investor ’s annual roster of the top equity researchers at money management firms, as determined by their sell-side counterparts. Results for 2009 are based on responses from more than 400 analysts at 80 firms, including those who received votes in our 2009 All-Europe Research Team and Emerging Europe, Middle East & Africa Research Team surveys. Participants were asked to name the top buy-side performers in the sectors they cover; those cited most frequently can be found in the table below.

In this turbulent economic environment, “the buy side becomes more important,” says Esther Dijkman, a Paris-based analyst at Société Générale Asset Management who makes her second consecutive appearance on Europe’s Best of the Buy Side in Insurance. Dijkman has sat on both sides of the wall, moving from SocGen’s sell side unit three years ago. She says that as smaller brokerages close local offices and larger ones scale back their teams, buy-side analysts have to pick up the slack, tracking more stocks and meeting with company managements more frequently.

“The role of buy-side analysts has increased in importance,” agrees Giovanni Trombello of Cominvest Asset Management, who covers Household & Personal Care Products and Luxury Goods and makes his first appearance on Europe’s Best of the Buy Side. “With many companies refraining from giving financial guidance, they are effectively giving us back our jobs,” adds the Frankfurt-based analyst.

The life of a buy-side analyst has changed in other ways, according to Trombello’s Cominvest colleague Johannes Ries, who covers two Technology sectors, Semiconductors and Software, and appears on Europe’s Best of the Buy Side for a second straight year.

“Our focus has changed from concentrating on where there are chances to where there are risks,” he says. Historic volatility and widespread losses have prompted analysts to use different tools than in the past because there are no earnings to analyze; Ries says that to gauge a company’s performance and prospects, he compares enterprise value-to-book and enterprise value-to-sales ratios to peers’ and to historic levels. “The ‘worst-case scenario’ is discussed much more than in the past,” he says.

Even if the worst case comes to pass, clients of these analysts can take comfort in being guided by Europe’s Best of the Buy Side.

To view profiles of Chris Braendli, Robert Haim, Lara Pellini and Francesco Sedati click on their names below.

Europe’s Best of the Buy Side

Joëlle Ben Hamida Pictet Wealth Mgmt

Household & Personal Care Products, Luxury Goods

Steven Ho JPMorgan Asset Mgmt

Autos & Auto Parts, Oil & Gas

Arnaud Besse Lombard Odier

Beverages, Food Producers

Kerstin Landau RCM–Allianz Global Investors

Aerospace & Defense, Business & Employment Services

Chris Braendli AllianceBernstein


Peter Lawrence JPMorgan Asset Mgmt

Aerospace & Defense, Capital Goods

Jacques Chazelle Crédit Agricole Asset Mgmt

Luxury Goods, Retailing/Food & Drug Chains

Felicie Lhoste Société Générale Asset Mgmt

Building & Construction, Capital Goods

Alberto Chiandetti FIL Investments International


Lara Pellini Capital World Investors

Retailing/Food & Drug Chains, Retailing/General

Bertrand Cliquet Lazard Asset Mgmt


Johannes Ries Cominvest Asset Mgmt

Technology/Semiconductors, Technology/Software

Damien Dierickx CM-CIC Asset Mgmt

Autos & Auto Parts, Utilities

Daniel Sarp Deka Investment


Esther Dijkman Société Générale Asset Mgmt


Francesco Sedati Fidelity International


Juan Fuente Carral Bankinter Gestión de Activos

Technology/Software, Telecommunications Equipment

Carlos Siegrist Santander Asset Mgmt

Telecommunications Equipment, Telecommunications Services

José Fuentes BBVA Asset Mgmt


Warwick Smith Santander Asset Mgmt

Beverages, Media

Alfonso Guerra Santander Asset Mgmt


Giovanni Trombello Cominvest Asset Mgmt

Household & Personal Care Products, Luxury Goods

Philip Haigh UBS Global Asset Mgmt

Technology/Semiconductors, Technology/Software

Alberto Vigil-Escalera Santander Asset Mgmt

Metals & Mining, Paper & Packaging

Robert Haim JPMorgan Asset Mgmt