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Bank of America Merrill Lynch Captures EMEA Sales Crown

Voters praise the bank’s EMEA equity sales team for its accessibility and transparency, ranking it No. 1 for a fifth consecutive year.

  • Alicia McElhaney

From The Emerging EMEA Sales Team 2017 ranking

When it comes to equity sales in the emerging Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, Bank of America Merrill Lynch reigns supreme.

For the fifth straight year, voters in Institutional Investor’s ranking of the region’s best equity sales teams have rated the bank No. 1, citing the access it provides to companies in far-flung locales, as well as its transparency with clients, both of which are valued in the industry, analysts say.

“Bank of America does an excellent job with conferences and corporate access,” says Derrick Irwin, a money manager at Wells Capital Management, a unit of Wells Fargo’s asset management division that manages $331 billion for clients. “Their salespeople have a good understanding of my investment process and what I would be interested in.”

Institutional Investor received responses from 305 buy-side analysts and money managers at 193 institutions, which manage an estimated $232 billion in emerging EMEA equities, to compile a list of the top-ten sales teams in emerging markets.

These analysts and money managers voted for the sales teams they believe fared best across several categories, including customer service, communication, access to analysts, quality of ideas, and quality of relationships.

According to Irwin, Bank of America Merrill Lynch stands out because the firm is transparent and up front about the costs of service and doesn’t always try to give him a hard sell.

“Merrill does a better job negotiating that minefield,” he says. “Every call or interaction doesn’t necessarily result in a trade.”

Marina Bulyguina, who works on the emerging markets and frontiers team at RWC Partners, a global asset manager with $10.7 billion under management, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s diversified locations also make its sales team stand out.

“They have very good local presence and local coverage, especially in Eastern Europe, which I cover,” says Bulyguina. She also praises the bank’s reports, which are both global and country-specific.

In previous years Bank of America Merrill Lynch was praised for the quality of its research and its relationships with firms. Bank officials declined comment on the ranking.

The bank also clinched the top spot in II’s ranking of EMEA trading teams this year.

Morgan Stanley once again captured the No. 2 spot, which it had won the previous two years. The firm declined to comment.

Meanwhile, HSBC Bank took third place this year. Rounding out the top five are Citi, which climbed to the No. 4 slot from fifth place last year, and J.P. Morgan, which fell from fourth place last year to fifth this year. UBS, which jumped last year from fifth place to third, fell in this year’s ranking to sixth place.

II asked participants in a broad Emerging EMEA Research Team survey to vote for the best sales teams in the emerging-markets regions. This report was compiled based on the data obtained in that survey.