Top-ranked last year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch slips to a second-place tie with Barclays. Simon Greenwell guides this London-based team of nearly 100 analysts in its reporting on more than 200 U.K. stocks. “If you ever want to know something about a certain company and you’re looking for a smart opinion, or if you want good advice on strategy and perspective, more often than not it’s going to be BofA Merrill,” declares one loyalist. “They do it globally, and the U.K. is no exception.” Regarding specific names, Greenwell’s crew has been recommending global mobile satellite concern Inmarsat as “a 2015–’20 growth story,” he says, crediting its solid dividend yield — forecast at 4 percent this year — and potential ability to repurchase shares after 2017. Significant events bolstered the London-headquartered operator in 2015. For example, in June it was promoted to the bluechip FTSE 100 Index, and in August management announced that Inmarsat had successfully launched the third satellite in its Global Xpress constellation, which the researchers advised at the time “provides a market-leading combination of coverage and speed versus peers.” Four months later they added the communications services provider to their Europe 1 list of preferred stocks, assigning it a price objective of 1,160p. Inmarsat closed at 1,032p in mid-January, discounted to competitors by some 7 percent. Greenwell has been the firm’s director of research for Europe, the Middle East and Africa since June 2013. He held the same position for eight years before shifting to head of regional equities distribution in May 2012. The 59-year-old analyst has logged two solid decades at what is now BofA Merrill, the bank formed by Bank of America Corp.’s 2009 acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. By that point, he was already a veteran of brokerage consolidation, having first signed on with Merrill via its 1995 acquisition of Smith New Court, then the U.K.’s largest independent shop. He had been working there since 1986, after Midland Bank (now part of HSBC) bought his family’s business, W. Greenwell & Co., which Greenwell joined upon earning a bachelor’s degree in geography at England’s University of Oxford.