The best research provider in the Great White North is RBC Capital Markets, as determined by Institutional Investor's inaugural All-Canada Research Team.
RBC edged out the competition to take the No. 1 spot in the first annual ranking of Canada’s top equity research analysts and firms. Directors of research and heads of investment at institutions with major securities holdings in Canada rated the top firms across nine market sectors. Votes were weighted based on how much each respondent spends on equity commissions.
Under this commission-weighted methodology, RBC captured nine total team positions. BMO Capital Markets placed second with eight positions, followed by Scotiabank with seven. CIBC World Markets took fourth place with five team positions.
While the overall margins were slim, RBC was clearly the favorite: The bank was voted No. 1 in seven out of the nine equity sectors included in the survey. The remaining two first-team positions were awarded to runner-up BMO — named the top provider of industrials research — and fourth-place CIBC World Markets, which ranked first in the materials sector.
In a nod to the domination by these domestic firms — which make up part of what is known as the “Big Five” in the Canadian banking industry — the highest ranking global firm was Barclays, which took fifth place.
Canada has not been untouched by global trade tensions, with a “new NAFTA” deal — which would update the trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada — hanging in the balance. André-Philippe Hardy, head of Canadian research at RBC Capital Markets, credits his analysts with the ability to place the country and its sectors in a global perspective.
“Through RBC Capital Markets’ global footprint, our Canadian analysts have access to the insights of their colleagues around the world, greatly enhancing their ability to put the opportunities and challenges faced by their covered companies and industries in a global context,” Hardy said in an emailed statement. “We also feel like we are ahead of our domestic competition in leveraging alternative data sets in our research.”
One example of RBC’s use of data is its Elements platform. “The RBC Elements team is part of our global research group and is comprised of data scientists who use advanced research methodologies, artificial intelligence, and analytics to solve problems and develop unique insights for our institutional clients across the globe,” Hardy said. “The RBC Elements team acquires and analyses data, probing many different categories of alternative data to help our fundamental analysts derive differentiated insights for the companies and industries they cover.”
Respondents to the All-Canada Research Team survey included more than 330 investment professionals at 237 institutions managing an estimated $350 billion in Canadian equity assets. They were asked to rate their top firms in each sector and then separately rate individual analysts.
In addition to the main leaderboards weighted by equity commissions, II also produced two rankings in which voters’ responses were weighted by their level of assets under management.
RBC had a clean sweep of all four leaderboards, with the AUM-weighted team ranking largely mirroring its commissioned-based counterpart. When the results were segmented by individual analysts, RBC pulled further ahead: Twelve of the Toronto-headquartered bank’s analysts earned team positions in the commission-weighted ranking, while 13 earned spots in the AUM-based leaderboard.