Vincent Laurencin & team Exane BNP Paribas
second teamLaurent Poinsot & team CA Cheuvreux
third teamFabrice Théveneau & team SocGen
Exane BNP Paribas spent the past five years in second place. This year the 83-member troupe guided by Vincent Laurencin climbs the final step to finish on top. What sets Exane apart from other brokers is that their analysts are consistently aware of what happens across Europe as well as the U.S. and Asia thats essential for global investors like us, explains one portfolio manager. Clients applaud the groups January 2009 upgrade from neutral to outperform on semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics, at 3.78, on valuation. The stock had jumped to 6.43 by the end of the year, a 70.1 percent gain that beat the broad market by 35.9 percentage points. Theyre always the first ones to call me with up-to-the-minute intelligence whenever theres news at a company, raves one of the teams many fans, adding: Theyve always got the best ideas. Laurencin, 33, earned a masters degree in finance at Pariss HEC in 1999; he worked as a senior executive at online auctioneer IBazar, then moved to Exane after IBazar was acquired by EBay in 2001. After five years at No. 1, the 26-strong CA Cheuvreux squad under Laurent Poinsot slips to second place. The group added BNP Paribas to its most-favored list in March, dubbing the banks shares a bargain at 31.81. The stock had shot up 65.5 percent, to 52.63, by September, and the analysts removed it from their list. It closed the year at 55.90. During the global crisis, they were very good at keeping their perspective by sticking to long-term fundamentals, observes one grateful booster. Fabrice Théveneau and his 150-member squadron at SocGen rise from runner-up to third place. One investor touts the firm for its broader range of pan-European stocks, which provides good international comparisons and creates value. The analysts upgraded auto-components supplier Faurecia from sell to buy in July, at 6.25, on the premise that the shares were undervalued in view of the companys reinforced balance sheet and vigorous and ambitious cost-cutting. The stock catapulted 146.4 percent, to 15.40, through December. Im quite happy with their stock picks, applauds one investor.
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