At No. 3 on this list, down from second place, is Commerzbank Corporates & Markets’ Frankfurt-based troupe. Forty-eight-year-old Gunnar Hamann and Andreas Hürkamp, 43, oversee a team of 22 analysts that reports on 140 German names — “probably the most in Germany,” says one U.S. fund manager. The firm earns high grades from clients for its corporate access services, especially the investment seminar it hosts in New York every January. “There are a whole lot of companies coming into Manhattan, probably 25 or 30 companies on the DAX index plus 40 small- and midcaps. It’s just a great opportunity,” cheers the American admirer. One of the squad’s key top-down calls going into the new year is the “surprising comeback of the DAX,” says Hürkamp. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange benchmark tumbled to a 12-month low of 8,571.95 in October but had rebounded to 10,694.32 by the end of January. Catalysts driving the DAX’s performance include a strong depreciation of the euro, “which should result in a powerful growth of German exports in 2015,” the crew chief notes, and an increase of as much as 12 percent in the index’s total dividends. Moreover, “the DAX dividend yield of 3.1 percent is highly attractive versus the 1.4 percent triple-B corporate bond yield in Germany,” Hürkamp adds. He and his colleagues expect the DAX to close the year at 10,800.