The buy-side has spoken: Morgan Stanley has the best sales team in the business.
For the second year in a row, the firm’s specialist salespeople were given top honors by buy-side analysts and money managers participating in Institutional Investor’s 2018 All-America Sales Team survey. More than 2,200 investment professionals participated in the ranking, which represents the views of 958 firms managing about $10.4 trillion in U.S. equities.
The All-America Sales Team is split into two rankings: specialist and generalist. In addition to topping the specialist roster, Morgan Stanley also repeated its second-place finish in the generalist sales category, giving it the best combined score overall.
“We believe our sales team acts as bankers and trusted advisors to each of our institutional clients,” said Nick Savone, Morgan Stanley’s global head of institutional equity sales. “Doing so requires leveraging our global high-quality research to provide actionable ideas to our clients. Driving relevant content is important.”
In an environment where there is more information than ever for institutional investors, good sales teams can act as a vital sieve, separating the relevant insight from the irrelevant.
Daniel Antonelli, Americas head of global institutional equity sales at JPMorgan Chase & Co., touched on this theme when asked what makes an effective sales team. “Knowing our clients,” he said. “Having a deep understanding of the investment process of each client and providing them the proper firm content and resources.”
Antonelli should know: This year JPMorgan earned first place in the generalist sales category for the second year in a row. The bank also ranked fourth in the specialist division.
Both generalist and specialist sales people were ranked on four attributes: understanding of clients’ investment needs and strategy, knowledge and effective communication of research product, quality of idea generation, and quality of service intensity and responsiveness.
J.P. Morgan’s Antonelli noted that being “highly responsive” is key, but he added a few more qualities of a successful salesperson: “Proactive, research-savvy, experienced, energetic.”
Top of mind for clients, according to Morgan Stanley’s Savone, is “attaining value across their partnerships with the sell side.” Which is no surprise during a time when Europe’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, MiFID II, has firms paying for research for the first time.
“Investors are seeking seamless solutions around quickly accessing pertinent content at both the single-name stock level as well as the big picture geopolitical landscape,” Savone said. This can range from corporate access to time with analysts.
Morgan Stanley continues to invest in its regional and product areas, Savone added, including across systematic advisory, sector specialist, and cross-asset sales. “Our goal is to have many spheres of expertise that we can scale across the global coverage platform at Morgan Stanley,” he said. “Leveraging technology more effectively to help sales drive greater efficiencies is a key aspect to executing our more nimble coverage model.”
Within the specialist category, Morgan Stanley placed first in three of the four categories it topped last year: basic materials, capital goods/industrials, and technology, media, and telecommunications. The fourth category, energy, was ceded to Credit Suisse. J.P. Morgan took first place in the consumer sector.