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All-America Research Providers

Ranking Overview Methodology

On a summer evening in 1972, two magazine editors met over drinks to devise an idea for a story on the best analysts on Wall Street.

That year, Institutional Investor would publish the first-ever All-America Research Team: a list of 85 sell-side analysts valued by money managers for their coverage across 26 industries. And what was pitched, originally, as a bit of fun — complete with illustrations of analysts dressed up as football players — became a career-making institution.

“Research departments have restructured themselves, and investment banks have been willing to fund and resource analysts that do better in II,” says Brett Hodess, head of Americas equity research at Bank of America. “The notoriety that II generated for analysts created a shorthand way for people to understand who is adding value for clients.”

Today, II publishes the 50th All-America Research Team, ranking analysts across 60 industry and macro sectors and recognizing an industry that has survived government investigations, market downturns, and game-changing regulations — and come out stronger than ever before. 

“In the mid-’70s, when commission rates collapsed, everyone thought the sell side was going to go away,” says Nick Rosato, head of North America equity research at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “Fast-forward to the other big events, such as the tech crash of 2000, Eliot Spitzer in 2002, the global financial crisis in 2008, and the real existential crisis of MiFID II in 2018 — here we are in 2021, and the business is thriving and has evolved along with the needs of our clients.”

After 49 years, the AART remains the leading barometer of the buy side’s opinion of analysts and their firms — even as the job of adding value has gotten a lot harder...

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2021 marks the 50th edition of the All-America Research Team and third year for publication of the survey’s commission-weighted results (previous years’ results were weighted by companies’ assets under management). The commission-weighted approach more accurately reflects how the buy-side values and rewards the sell-side for their research advisory services.

This year’s survey included a new sector, ESG, allowing asset managers to recognize those firms with investing expertise in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) category.

Selection Criteria

To select the members of the All-America Research Team, Institutional Investor solicited opinions of directors of research and investment professionals at asset management firms with a commission and/or a research wallet of at least US$250k and who are recognized as using sell-side research advisory services. For the All-America survey, we received responses from 3,565 individuals at 1,475 firms. The names of individuals surveyed are kept confidential to ensure their continuing cooperation.

Participants rated their top firms in each sector and then separately rated individual analysts at those firms to create two distinct rankings for each sector. A numerical score was produced by weighting each vote based on the responding firm’s commissions or assets under management in the sector and the rating awarded. This created the Commissions and AUM-weighted rankings.

Using those scores, ranks were determined. Firms/analysts are awarded a “Runner‐Up” position if their score comes within 35 percent of the third-place score in a sector. For the analyst rankings, the cut-off date for individuals is the date of the survey opening (1st June 2021).

Voters must meet strict eligibility requirements, and winners must achieve a minimum vote count. All ballots are subject to review by the Research Operations Group.

These rankings were compiled by Senior Editors Tucker Ewing, Denise Hoguet and Researchers Denise Best and Xiao Lu.

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