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TEAMWORK

Of the eight research rankings Institutional Investor produces each year, this month's All-Europe Research Team offers the most unusual challenges.

Of the eight research rankings Institutional Investor produces each year, this month's All-Europe Research Team offers the most unusual challenges.

By David Schutt
February 2003
Institutional Investor Magazine

Our U.S.-focused equity and fixed-income polls include more sectors and analysts, but the structure of II's European team -- reflecting the region's uneven progress toward unification -- is much harder to pin down each year.

In 1986 we created our first European ranking, the All-British Research Team. None of the top 20 City firms on that list -- led by James Capel -- still operates independently, a measure of just how drastically Europe's research business has been realigned. By 1992 the stand-alone British team had disappeared, subsumed into the new AERT, which has since been updated repeatedly to capture the effects of closer European coordination.

Some participants still argue that we shouldn't bother with country-based rankings, since 12 nations now share the euro and many brokerages claim to evaluate industries without regard to borders. That's a valid point but doesn't account for those nations where government policies make or break local businesses -- and their share prices.

Charged with guiding us through the European thicket are Assistant Managing Editor Lewis Knox, Senior Editor Jane B. Kenney and the research department staff. "Creating this team gives you an appreciation for all the various forces shaping Europe," says Kenney.

Chief intelligence gatherer on these issues is Senior Associate Editor William Gaston, who, together with Associate Editor Emily Fleckner, conducts scores of interviews with sell- and buy-side research directors as well as portfolio managers to ready our format each year. Knox, who braved last July's stifling heat to meet one-on-one with European investors, Contributing Editor Mark Frankel and research copy editor Monica Boyer pored over each of this year's 53 write-ups.

II's Art Department gives the team its style. Photographer Graham Trott, whose clients include Time and BusinessWeek, shot the winning analysts in a loft near London Bridge. The casual feel to this year's design comes courtesy of Art Director Irene Ledwith, Deputy Art Director Patrizia Bove and Photo Editor Anastasia Pleasant, who also made sure that 63 of the winners from 12 countries arrived at the sessions on time.

The result of this collective effort -- our 2003 All-Europe Research Team -- begins on page 55.