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How Investors Get Access in Asia

Investors and company executives rank the region’s best corporate access providers in Institutional Investor’s seventh annual survey. The big winner: Morgan Stanley.

From Locked ranking

For the best access to corporate executives in Asia, investors turn to Morgan Stanley.

The global investment bank placed first in Institutional Investor’s ranking of Asia’s Top Corporate Access Providers for the seventh year in a row, as voted on by more than 840 investors at 470 money management firms. Morgan Stanley’s reign at the top of the leaderboard continues despite a change in methodology which weighted votes by how much respondents paid in sell-side commissions, as opposed to their level of assets under management.

Citi was ranked second by buy-side investors, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch placed third.

Mehdee Reza, Asia-Pacific head of equity distribution at Morgan Stanley, attributed the firm’s long run of success to its goal of delivering “insights and tangible benefits” to clients through corporate access initiatives. “To do that, we have to know our clients well and fully understand their access needs,” he said in an emailed statement.

[II Deep Dive: Morgan Stanley Is Unbeaten in Asian Corporate Access]

According to Reza, a good corporate access provider needs to generate ideas that are “relevant, topical, and aligned” to client interests and provide investors with “high-quality, differentiated access to senior management, industry experts, and others with unique insights or perspectives.”

“Executing our programs with a laser focus on seamless logistics also sets us apart,” he added.

Given the challenges faced by international investors in Asia — “language barriers and cultural nuances,” and “still-evolving” best practices for corporate governance — Reza said that corporate access providers need to have a “wide range of skill sets to source and execute efficiently the caliber of access that is appreciated by our clients.”

Investors certainly value Morgan Stanley’s range of capabilities. In addition to topping the commission-weighted ranking, the bank also placed first in a second ranking which weighted votes by assets under management.

This year’s corporate respondents, however, were less enamored with Morgan Stanley as a corporate access provider, ranking the bank fifth. CLSA-CITICS came first according to the 216 total corporations that voted, followed by Citi in second, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in third. 

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