Alastair Syme & team Nomura
second teamMark Iannotti & team BofA Merrill Lynch
third teamLucas Herrmann & team Deutsche
Alastair Syme, who was co-captain of last years top-ranked BofA team, returns to the winners circle this time as sole leader of the four-member crew at Nomura, which the 40-year-old analyst joined in April. The team, a runner-up last year, is essential for information and recommendations, insists one buy-sider. In May the researchers advised investors that shares of U.K.-based energy behemoth BP were a bargain at 487.44p. By the end of the year, they had shot up to 600p, a 23.1 percent gain that beat the sector by 11.4 percentage points.
The six-strong BofA squad, guided solely by Mark Iannotti since Symes departure, slips to second place, but the analysts continue to deliver a high-quality product backed by equally strong service, says one longtime backer. The team upgraded Austrian integrated oil provider OMV from neutral to buy in January 2009, at 19.36, largely on valuation. By late December it had catapulted 57.4 percent, to 30.48.
Climbing from runner-up to third place is the Deutsche trio helmed by Lucas Herrmann. The team, considered a step ahead of the competition by one portfolio manager, also alerted their clients to a moneymaking opportunity in BP, which they upgraded from hold to buy last February, at 419.03p. The stock gained 43.2 percent through December, outpacing the sector by 20.1 points.
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