Merrill Lynch Sweep the Board in the 25th Year of Extel Survey

Merrill Lynch are the clear winners in every league table in the 25th anniversary edition of the Extel Survey of Investment Analysts. They top the poll by a substantial margin in the all sectors and markets pan-European league, scoring almost 20% more votes than their nearest rival, SBC Warburg Dillon Read.

Merrill Lynch are also voted top in the qualitative assessment of their sales teams and execution, as well as their research. SBC Warburg Dillon Read, in 2nd place, gained nearly 30% more votes than the next broker.

BT Alex. Brown International - ranked 2nd as NatWest Securities last year - now drop to 3rd position, followed by HSBC Securities in 4th place. Together these brokers are well ahead of the next group.

With the benefit of the absorption of BZW, Credit Suisse First Boston take 5th place in the total pan-European league table. They are voted 1st for the most highly rated team of analysts covering economics and strategy. ABN AMRO move up to 6th place, whilst Dresdner Kleinwort Benson retain their 7th position. Goldman Sachs International gain some ground moving to 8th place this year.

Schroder Securities enter the top ten all sectors pan-European league table in the 1998 Survey, pulling ahead into 9th place and increasing their share of votes by two-thirds. In the UK sector league Schroder Securities jump from 11th to 8th place this year. They are also highly rated for their European sales and execution, as well as for their research. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter are in 10th position. The results of the 25th Extel Survey were announced at a luncheon held today at Guildhall, City of London. Mr John J Brennan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, the Vanguard Group, was the guest speaker and presented the awards to the winning analysts.

The 25th annual Extel Survey of Investment Analysts is focused on UK and Continental European sectors and markets and does not include any of the other markets covered in previous surveys. This year's Survey therefore reflects the perceived merits of analysts and brokers providing pan-European research, sales and execution services.

The Survey again shows the ranking of the top research brokers and their analysts weighted by size of funds under management by the respondents who voted for them. The unweighted rankings are also shown alongside the weighted results. The Extel league tables are based on the weighted results.

For the 5th year running, the 1998 "ALL STARS" rating for the top ranked UK team goes to Fergus MacLeod's "Oil, Integrated" team at BT Alex. Brown International.

Fergus MacLeod also reigns supreme as the most highly rated individual analyst for his coverage of the oil sector at BT Alex. Brown International. This year he leads by a wider margin from his nearest rival Charles Burrows, who covers the engineering sectors for HSBC Securities.

For the first time, the Extel Survey polled the finance directors of the top 350 UK companies. The finance directors were asked to nominate their choice of the best brokers' analysts and the best fund managers, as well as provide an assessment of the quality of their one-on-one meetings with individual fund management institutions.

The analysts at Merrill Lynch were voted the best overall by a large margin, whilst those at HSBC Securities were perceived as having shown the most improvement over the last year. The finance directors voted the fund managers at Prudential Portfolio Managers as the best overall, but only by a small margin ahead of those at Mercury Asset Management.

When asked to compare the quality of their one-on-one meetings with brokers' analysts as opposed to those with fund managers, the finance directors generally favour the brokers' analysts. However, the fund managers score more highly for discussion of longer term issues and strategic investment plans.

The fund managers believe that their own in-house research - which continues to increase - plus their direct meetings with companies, is more important than brokers' research. For over 40% of the managers, more than half their ideas are now generated in-house. The Survey also finds that a "partnership " relationship with the brokers' analysts to develop ideas together is regarded as more important than the traditional "first call".

The 25th Extel Survey finds that fund managers are not only using more screen-based research, but will be demanding more from their brokers. The Internet has emerged as the most popular delivery system with more managers planning to use it over the next 12 months. 77% of the fund managers consider that SETS is no improvement on the previous trading system. Lack of liquidity, price volatility and price distortions at the beginning and end of the day are cited as the biggest problems.

According to the Survey, the proportion of net trading being undertaken by the fund managers has risen and is expected to continue to rise. Many more managers are using programme trading: the number executing between one and five trades is up from 23% to 75%.

The 25th anniversary edition of the Extel Survey of the Ranking of Investment Analysts has captured the opinions of 118 fund managers responsible for the investment of nearly ²,000 billion. The respondents include a wide range of investment managers of pension funds, insurance company portfolios, unit and investment trusts and of the funds of governments, private individuals and other investors. This year a sample of key fund managers from the Continent of Europe has been included.

Geoffrey Osmint, Consulting Editor of the Extel Survey, founded the Survey of Investment Analysts 25 years ago. He comments: "The 1998 Survey results underline the strength of the global houses, now owned by the Americans or Europeans, who are driven by the lucrative corporate finance opportunities available, especially in Europe. They will continue to pull away from second tier niche players."

THE 25TH EXTEL SURVEY ALL SECTORS AND MARKETS PAN-EUROPEAN LEAGUE TABLE 1998

1st Merrill Lynch
2nd SBC Warburg Dillon Read
3rd BT Alex. Brown International
4th HSBC Securities
5th Credit Suisse First Boston
6th ABN AMRO
7th Dresdner Kleinwort Benson
8th Goldman Sachs International
9th Schroder Securities
10th Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

NB - All sectors and markets pan-European league covers all 91 sectors in the Survey

As a comparison, the 1997 ALL SECTORS LEAGUE TABLE is shown below:

1st SBC Warburg (now SBC Warburg Dillon Read)
2nd NatWest Securities (now BT Alex. Brown International)
3rd Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
4th UBS Limited (now merged with SBC Warburg Dillon Read)
5th HSBC James Capel (now HSBC Securities)
6th BZW (now Credit Suisse First Boston)
7th Dresdner Kleinwort Benson
8th ABN AMRO Hoare Govett (now ABN AMRO)
9th Goldman Sachs International
10th Morgan Stanley International

The Extel Survey can be ordered over the internet at: http://www.info.ft.com/companies/pubs/survey.htm

Notes

The Extel Survey, now in its 25th year, has become the flagship survey of the industry. It is the record for measuring the work of investment analysts. In the 1998 Survey, 91 sectors are covered and over 1,500 analysts have been nominated.

Financial Times Information, publisher of the Extel Survey, is one of the leading providers of specialist financial information to the asset management and investment research markets around the world. It comprises Extel, Interactive Data and joint venture news agency AFX News.

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