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In a Disastrous Year, the All-America Research Team Shines

Introducing 2020’s research stars.

It’s March 12, 2020. The president has just banned travel from Europe. Stocks are in free fall. There’s a constant churn of breaking news alerts as something else shuts down: Broadway. Schools. Major League Baseball.

In makeshift home offices in New York and across the country, Wall Street’s analysts are scrambling to answer the question that every investor is asking: What happens next?

And in the middle of a crisis, new stars were born.

The 49th annual All-America Research Team celebrates the analysts and research providers that have risen to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. These are the experts investors turned to when entire industries shuttered overnight, even as companies themselves stopped trying to forecast their uncertain financial futures.

During this time of crisis, some research firms proved resilient: JPMorgan Chase & Co. ranks as the No. 1 firm for the fifth year running, as 19 of the bank’s analysts were voted to this year’s First Team. BofA Securities takes second place, also for the fifth year in a row, and Evercore ISI, Morgan Stanley, and UBS round out the top five again this year.

Other firms have fallen behind. Citigroup drops from the No. 3 research provider in 2019 to seventh place this year, and Barclays is bumped from the top ten for the first time since acquiring Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Still others have risen above. Credit Suisse sees the biggest improvement, jumping to No. 6 from tenth last year. Wells Fargo Securities, Jefferies, and Wolfe Research have all earned new spots in the top ten.

There are other changes in this year’s All-America Research Team. Two major sectors — software and internet — have been split into large-cap and small- and midcap divisions. A new macro sector was also added, allowing investors to vote on the best thematic research.

But the main premise remains the same: Institutional Investor asked portfolio managers and buy-side analysts to rank their favorite analysts and research firms across 60 industry and macroeconomic sectors. In total, 3,667 investment professionals from almost 1,500 asset management firms and institutions voted to determine the 2020 All-America Research Team.

In recognition of this year’s top research providers, II interviewed 16 of the analysts who earned a spot on the First Team amid the Covid-19 crisis. For some, it’s their first No. 1 ranking; for others, their tenth. Many were awarded First Team positions for their coverage of the sectors at the epicenter of the pandemic.

Click on the links below to read more about each group of analysts, or click here to view the full 2020 All-America Research Team.

The Hall of Famers

The Crisis Responders

The New Stars