For the second year in a row, UBS is the top pick for investors desiring access to European public company executives.
The firm took first place in the buy-side point-of-view category of Institutional Investor’s 2018 ranking of Europe's Top Corporate Access Providers, once again beating out second-place Bank of America Merrill Lynch for the top honors. Deutsche Bank placed third, climbing one spot from fourth place in 2017.
The 2018 ranking was based on responses from more than 1,000 investors at 572 firms that collectively oversee some $4 trillion in European equities. Those firms that scored top marks were rewarded for facilitating one-on-one meetings, organizing site visits and factory tours, hosting investor conferences, holding non-deal roadshows, communicating logistics, and providing ongoing feedback between corporations and investors.
Asked what set his firm apart, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa research Simon Greenwell pointed to its telepresence services. The firm offers video calls with its own researchers, as well as outside experts.
“We’ve had calls with eight, nine different locations, 60 or 70 investors linking into the same event,” Greenwell said by phone. “You have a speaker people want to see first hand. The telepresence facilitates that.”
In addition to the buy-side ranking, II also ranked corporate access providers from the corporate point-of-view, based on votes from 362 corporate respondents. In this list, Kepler Cheuvreux clawed its way to the top, outranking 2017 leaders Bank of America Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan Cazenove, which fell to second place and seventh place, respectively.
“We’ve always considered that corporate access is key,” said Andre Juillard, head of global marketing at Kepler Cheuvreux.
According to Juillard, the firm’s strengths include its strong presence in Europe and ability to adapt to the changes ushered in by MiFID II over the past year.
MiFID II, the update to the Markets in Financial Directives Initiative, effectively unbundled the cost of research from other investment bank services. Put into effect by the European Union on January 3, 2018, MIFID II had been expected to shake up the industry by forcing traders and investors to change how they access investment research.
“MIFID is an additional complexity,” Juillard said. “The reality is that corporate access is still a key focus and still growing even in some sessions where the application of these new rules are complicated.”
He added that clients weren’t largely moved by the regulations last year, noting that the team at Kepler Cheuvreux still worked to provide a corporate access program with the three major pillars: roadshows, conferences and access to experts.
“That’s the expectation of our clients,” Juillard said. “They still need to meet each other and to share ideas.”
Juillard said the firm offers close to 990 roadshows and 200 deal roadshows per year as well as 25 conferences. Kepler Cheuvreux also offers clients close to 50 bespoke trips each year, where clients are connected with market experts.