Nomura has regained its top spot in Institutional Investor's annual All-Japan Sales Team, just one year after slipping to second place for the first time since the survey's 2012 inception.

The firm unseats Mizuho Securities Group, whose equity sales team places second as it has in the lion's share of previous surveys. SMBC Nikko Securities ranks third, followed by Daiwa Securities Group in fourth, and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Co. in fifth.

The 2018 ranking was decided by participants in the larger All-Japan Research Team survey. Nearly 700 buy-side analysts and money managers - representing 359 firms and collectively managing about $822 billion in Japanese equity assets - ranked their top four generalist salespeople. These individual votes were then combined to form a firm's sales team.

Respondents were asked to consider 8 sales attributes including providing special services, understanding client needs, and knowledge and communication of the research product.