These Are the Top Sales Teams in EMEA

Familar faces sit atop this year’s Developed Europe and Emerging EMEA Sales Teams.


Illustration by II

The developed and emerging markets of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa are keeping investors — and sales teams — on their toes.

“It has been another challenging year for market participants, but with some big shifts in risk appetite — risk on — for Turkey and Greece,” said Camille Asmar, head of equity sales for Europe and emerging markets at HSBC. “As expected, capital markets remain buoyant in MENA, notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

With volatility persisting in Eastern Europe since Russian invaded Ukraine more than a year ago, the continued shift to the Middle East and North Africa has been “remarkable,” according to Asmar, who reported that interest in the region keeps increasing on a daily basis. “This continues to be front and center in our daily conversations with our clients,” he added. “Our heritage, leading position and commitment to this market makes us one of the leading brokers in the region.”

HSBC’s equity sales team in MENA is intrinsic to its global equities offering, said Asmar. “We have invested in the development of our people and have one of the most consistent and dedicated teams on the street in the region,” he said. “Today, thanks to them, we have been bridging markets between the East and West for our corporate and institutional clients globally.”

This dedication has been rewarded again, according to the respondents to Institutional Investor’s 2023 Emerging EMEA Sales Team survey. HSBC is No. 1 based on the responses of 328 buy-side money managers at 228 firms with substantial holdings in the region.

The firm extended its reign in the ranking where voters were asked to consider six attributes when ranking providers: value added to research, global context, idea generation, market knowledge and feel, service and responsiveness, and understanding of client needs. HSBC topped five of these, while second-place firm JPMorgan Chase received plaudits for idea generation.

Morgan Stanley placed third for overall sales, while BofA Securities and EFG-Hermes took fourth and fifth, respectively.

In Europe’s developed markets, another established name added to its trophy collection, with BNP Paribas Exane ranking No. 1 in II’s Developed Europe Sales Team for the seventh year in a row.

“Regardless of the equity market conditions, we know that we need to maintain our focus on the quality of service,” said Dina Geha, global head of distribution for BNP Paribas Exane. “Whether that’s helping our clients find new investment ideas, highlighting the best new research or helping them access management teams through conferences and events, we remain client-led in all that we do.”

The developed economies of Europe have been more resilient than expected, with a greater consensus on the soft-landing hypothesis, she said. “The result has been a pretty flat market overall,” Geha added. “Falling core inflation could be a big source of support for markets, as central banks bring the rate-rising cycle to a close and look ahead to potential cuts. Macro risks remain, not least the real estate slowdown in China and the risk to European energy prices as winter approaches.”

Geha credited BNP Paribas Exane’s success to her “very stable” team across all European markets, which has experienced very little turnover. “The main changes have been to add new talent at the early careers level in a few places — notably London, Paris, New York, and Stockholm.”

Investing and mentoring young talent is important in an ever-shifting European cash equities landscape. “We continue to see disruption to the sell side in European cash equities, driven by major exits or mergers across the market,” she said. “This means that the firms who commit have a huge opportunity to take market share. BNP Paribas has shown huge commitment to equities with its significant investments in recent years, which I believe means we are very well placed.”

Developed Europe sales teams were judged on the same six attributes as their emerging market peers. BNP Paribas Exane topped five out of six of them. JPMorgan, which placed third in the developed market survey, was recognized for its ability to provide “global context.”

BofA Securities secured second place in the overall leaderboard, with Barclays placing fourth. Jefferies rounded out the top five, based on the responses from some 1,869 buy-side money managers representing 798 firms.

HSBC’s Asmar said his firm is able to assuage many client concerns thanks to its local presence in both emerging and developed markets. “Our clients want to know about inflation, interest rates, geopolitics, energy prices, commodities . . . and so we provide them with as much insight and support as we can, thanks to our global research, equities, and FICC teams,” he said. “We have in-depth experience, we have seen many cycles in all emerging markets and developed markets, and we have boots on the ground.”

The firm has made a number of hires to its developed Europe sales team,

but the focus remains on MENA as activity and attention continue to build in the region as it gears up to again host the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). “I am confident that the most structural opportunities for the sell-side and our clients are in the Middle East as markets open up further — with increasing international investor interest on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “We have, accordingly, designed our Emerging EMEA platform for scale.”