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Deutsche Provides Best Access to Europe's Corporates

Deutsche Bank, No. 1 in research for a third year running, debuts in first place in our inaugural roster of Europe’s Top Corporate Access Providers.

From Locked ranking

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Too much information — or TMI, in texting parlance — is helping to fuel a rise in investor demand for face-to-face meetings with company executives, according to Catriona Shannon, a corporate access specialist at Morgan Stanley in London. Money managers are bombarded with analysis and opinion from not only sell-side firms but also newspapers, television and the web, all of which have varying degrees of reliability.

“With increased media coverage comes increased speculation and rumor, resulting in more and more value placed on a direct meeting with management,” Shannon says. “With so many brokers and analysts feeding the media their interpretation of a company’s latest product or strategy, to hear this news from ‘the horse’s mouth’ has never before been so highly valued.”

A U.K.-based money manager echoes that view. “Before I invest in a company, I want to hear what the CEO has to say and not have his or her message interpreted for me — because ultimately I am responsible for that investment decision,” this buy-sider says.

In light of the rising demand for such meetings, Institutional Investor asked participants in the 2013 All-Europe Research Team to tell us which brokerages provide the best access to key executives at European companies in each of the survey’s industry sectors. Deutsche Bank, No. 1 in research for a third year running, debuts in first place in our inaugural roster of Europe’s Top Corporate Access Providers; the Frankfurt-based firm ranks in 29 of the 32 sectors that produced publishable results — and is No. 1 in nine of them. Bank of America Merrill Lynch lands in second place, with 26 total team positions, including six first-place finishes. Morgan Stanley, which ties with UBS for third place, also has six first-place finishes among the 22 positions it wins.

“The Deutsche Bank teams are very good at promoting the best part of the group’s comprehensive research product as well as providing great corporate access through conferences and company meetings,” declares one enthusiastic supporter. (We keep confidential the identities of survey respondents and their firms to ensure their continuing cooperation.)

Adds another: “The research team covers most of the companies we care about globally, and their marketing and sales teams get company managements in front of us regularly.”

Aerospace & Defense is one of the sectors in which Deutsche Bank takes top honors for research, with Benjamin Fidler captaining the crew, and for corporate access. “Face-to-face settings help you to gauge with much greater accuracy the level of confidence in someone’s response to a question you have posed,” the team leader says. “‘Do they look like they really mean what they are saying?’ is far easier to judge when you have the additional input of body language, which one misses out on with just a phone call.”

In addition, “meetings give a chance to discuss in more depth some of the strategic issues for the company and management’s growth aspirations and longer-term targets,” Fidler explains, noting that investors often ask for insight on trends — volume, pricing, customer-ordering patterns and any changes in the competitive environment.

Morgan Stanley’s C-suite offerings, especially with regard to technology companies, also earn high marks from clients. The firm captures first place in all four of the survey’s tech-related sectors: Semiconductors, Software, Telecom Equipment and Telecommunications Services.

In late February hundreds of investment professionals from around the world will flock to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco to attend Morgan Stanley’s annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications conference — “the only TMT event that’s an absolute must,” declares one New York–based backer. The event is “particularly valuable,” agrees one buy-side analyst in the U.K. “It is a very efficient way of meeting a number of companies early in the year and evaluating new investment ideas,” he says.

François Meunier, who pilots crews that capture first place in Semiconductors and second place in Telecom Equipment on the All-Europe Research Team, and Adam Wood, who heads the team ranked No. 1 in Software, will be among the Morgan Stanley analysts attending the conference, which will be held February 25–28. Participating companies constitute a veritable Who’s Who of the global tech world: Arm Holdings, ASML Holding, AT&T, Cisco Systems, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft Corp., Verizon Communications, Vodafone Group, Yahoo! — some 200 names in all. The bank also hosts other conferences and road shows, plus factory tours and one-on-one meetings.

“Investors are always looking for a clear explanation of strategy,” says Shannon, who directs Morgan Stanley’s corporate access initiatives in the tech sectors. “Also, they want an update on trading and, depending on the company, they normally want management to discuss its M&A pipeline and strategy. More importantly, however, they are always looking for new information that they are the first to hear before the rest of the Street.”

II’s ranking of Europe’s Top Corporate Access Providers reflects the opinions of nearly 950 investment professionals at more than 475 institutions that manage an estimated $3.98 trillion in European equities.

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