Back up to third place after last year’s runner-up finish is Société Générale. Coverage of French stocks is now overseen by director of equity research Alain Kayayan, who most recently appeared on this roster in 2001, as leader of the top-ranked squad at Exane. He subsequently served as that firm’s head of client services then CEO and led Bryan, Garnier & Co.’s research efforts for three years before signing on with SocGen in April 2011. Until Fabrice Théveneau’s departure in December for the bank’s Lyxor Asset Management unit, the 57-year-old Kayayan was deputy head of equity research. He guides a team of 80 that reports on 150 French names from dual headquarters in London, where he is located, and Paris, as well as offices in Bangalore, Madrid, Milan and New York. “They’ve always had the edge on France with the best strategists,” says one admirer, “and they’re well regarded for giving you a different, more global view on asset allocation and asset management strategies.” The analysts are urging investors to buy shares of vehicle manufacturer Renault. Following the Boulogne-Billancourt–based company’s strong performance in 2015 — over the first three quarters, year-over-year revenue increased by 11.2 percent, to €31.5 billion ($35.4 billion) — Renault should further benefit from management’s ongoing investment in innovative models and aggressive push into new markets, they believe. A case in point is its success in India with the September launch of the Renault Kwid, which has booked more than 80,000 orders. A hatchback, the Kwid is the first car to be developed in the automaker’s alliance with Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. and, Kayayan contends, the shares do not reflect its contribution to growth. They closed at €75.13 in mid-January, 55.7 percent below SocGen’s target of €117.