Emerging market analysts are used to unpredictability. But 2020 has been something else entirely.

As Covid-19 began to spread around the world, forcing countries into lockdown and sending entire workforces home, top brokers observed a sudden increase in demand from investors for research, corporate access — for everything, according to Camille Asmar, HSBC’s head of emerging market equity sales for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

“At the beginning, clients wanted access to everything and wanted to know everything,” he said. “We were here to support them and guide them throughout the pandemic and volatile markets.”

For investors in the developing markets of Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and South Africa, HSBC was particularly well suited to guide them, having long focused primarily on emerging markets. On the research team, for example, every analyst has more than 15 years of experience covering predominantly emerging markets, according to Raj Sinah, head of research for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

“In emerging markets we are used to volatile moves and waves, so for us as a combined team — sales, research, and corporate access, which have worked together for over a decade — we were used to navigating situations such as this one,” Asmar said. “We were in a position stronger than anyone else to be there for our clients.”

The clients seem to agree: HSBC was among the top-performing firms in Institutional Investor’s Emerging EMEA survey, which asked investors to rate the region’s research purveyors, sales teams, and corporate access providers. The London-based bank was joined in the top rungs by global firms like JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and UBS Group.

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