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The All-India Sales Team: Kotak Securities Tops the Chart

On the strength of widespread praise, Kotak takes first place from three-time champ CLSA, which drops to No. 4 in our annual ranking.

  • Katie Gilbert

From The All-India Sales Team 2016 ranking

Making it two for two, Kotak Securities takes the top spot on Institutional Investor’s 2016 All-India Sales Team. The firm, which rose one notch from second last year, also keeps its No. 1 position on the All-India Research Team for the second year in a row.

CLSA, which won first place for three of the five years since the All-India Sales Team ranking launched, tumbles to No 4. Credit Suisse improves to second from third, and Morgan Stanley edges into third after last year’s fourth-best finish.

Kotak’s strong recent showing in both the sales and research surveys likely reflects the firm’s efforts to adapt to changing demands of clients that are seeking Indian equity research. (Kotak’s second-place finish in our 2015 ranking of India’s top equity research sales teams was an improvement from fifth place the year before.)

Sanjeev Prasad, Kotak’s co-head of institutional equities, says he’s noticed a growing reliance on his firm’s salespeople. Clients have been looking to sales staff to “filter research to them with actionable ideas” and “act as their advisers in terms of identifying inflection points in stocks rather than provide a rehash of the research comments,” says Prasad, who oversees research and equity sales efforts.

“They also want inputs on stock ideas outside the research coverage in some cases, especially the midcap stocks in their portfolios,” he adds, explaining that most Indian asset managers have launched successful midcap funds over the past two years, drawing large inflows and significant attention to this segment of India’s research universe.

Responding to those new requests and the increase in Kotak’s client base, Prasad’s equity research sales team has added two people in the past year: a senior representative for Asia and a junior staffer providing general assistance.

Many of the voters in our survey say the firm has proven effective in matching clients’ heightened demands.

“Kotak’s sales team excels at picking up and highlighting relevant pieces of research and have well-formed views in market developments,” notes one money manager. (Unless instructed otherwise, we keep confidential the identities of survey respondents and their firms to ensure their continuing cooperation.)

Another investor offers this take: “They customize ideas and research products to suit our investment needs and style. They alert us on any developments that impact our investment universe.”

A third satisfied client adds to the praise. “The Kotak sales team shares investment ideas without pushing them. They understand that investors come with different strategies, criteria and sizes are are able to cater to their varied needs and requirements.”

Kotak salesperson Shabnam Kapur earns special acclaim. “She is knowledgeable, understands our investment style, and customizes her service to meet our needs,” says one buy-sider. “She is patient, always available, and never says no.”

Another client singles out Jay Unadkat as a Kotak salesperson whose efforts deserve recognition.

Each year II invites participants in the broader All-India Research Team survey to name up to four firms that they believe provide the best sales support. For 2016 we received responses from more than 220 buy-side analysts and money managers at some 140 firms that collectively manage an estimated $120 billion in Indian equity assets. About 82 percent of the people who cast votes in the research team survey, representing 84 percent of the participating buy-side institutions, answered our question about the best sales teams.

To view the All-India Sales Team top ten, click on the Leaders link located in the navigation table on the right. Information about squads that meet minimum-vote and other eligibility criteria but do not appear in the top ten is available from the Institutional Investor Research Group.

For details on how we compiled this ranking, click on Methodology.