Morgan Stanley Reclaims Lead on All-America Sales Team
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Morgan Stanley Reclaims Lead on All-America Sales Team


J.P. Morgan slips to second place; Bank of America Merrill Lynch holds steady at No. 3.

After three years in second place, Morgan Stanley reclaims the top spot it captured when Institutional Investor launched the All-America Sales Team in 2011. J.P. Morgan slips to No. 2, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch lands in third place for a third straight year. Rounding out the top five, recording the same ranks as last year, are Deutsche Bank Securities and Barclays.

“Morgan Stanley delivers global ideas, content and resources seamlessly,” reports Stuart Zimmer, CEO of Zimmer Partners in New York. “The team is proactive in creating a long-term partnership with key decision makers to ensure that clients receive a highly customized and tailored coverage experience across all equity products.”

That’s the goal, confirms Nick Savone, who directs the firm’s U.S. equity research sales crew. “We pride ourselves on having systematic product and industry teach-ins, whereby we bring together specialists from Morgan Stanley globally to help sales attain a more granular understanding of the various products we can introduce clients to,” he says. “Furthermore, we also leverage our depth within the firm for sales to gain a richer comprehension of sector frameworks.”

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All-America Research Team Rising StarsOctober 13, 2015America's Top Corporate Access ProvidersOctober 14, 2015 The salesperson’s job is to both inform and advise, adds Savone, who is based in New York. “We leverage our firm’s vast depth of research — across global industry, single stock and macro — to bring actionable ideas to clients. Our research methodology uniquely lays out various in-depth scenarios that arm the sales team to marry other products — from derivatives, baskets and swaps, among others — to provide the most actionable ideas to our clients.”

The strategy is working, according to Greg Dean, a partner and portfolio manager with Cambridge Global Asset Management in Toronto. “I want to recognize them for their outstanding efforts selling U.S. equities,” he says. “Their financials conference and level of corporate access were timely.”

A number of buy-side respondents single out particular salespeople for special praise. Among the comments we heard:

• The Morgan Stanley team is adept at distilling critical information into a succinct summary. Lauren Campbell is my primary point of contact. I appreciate her timely response to my requests for information, data, etc. She excels at client service.

Ashton Curtis, their technology specialist sales head, is worth his weight in gold. He thinks like a portfolio manager and is able to take the research his firm is doing and contextualize it with what is happening everywhere else. His daily e-mail is a must-read.

• We are a macro firm and use Morgan Stanley’s [exchange-traded fund] sales and trading. Their sales group is about the best we’ve seen for keeping clients up to date on ETF happenings, movements in the markets and basic ETF commentary. In particular, we get great value from John Davi, who has been there for many years.

Travis Escobedo knows what is important to me and only brings up events or stock ideas that I am interested in. He saves me a lot of time by editing his firm’s offerings for me.

Eric Harmon is the best salesperson I have. He gets the meetings I want, he is highly knowledgeable about the financial sector, and has the pulse of the client base.

Bradley Roche, who runs multiasset sales, does a great job of filtering all the content that Morgan Stanley puts out for us and of connecting us with the relevant people whenever a particular subject or sector — China, energy, Greece, ETFs — is topical.

Allyson Segal does a great job of alerting my group to relevant research, putting us in touch with the Morgan Stanley analysts and getting us access to nondeal road show meetings with company managements.

• Morgan Stanley’s specialist sales are seasoned investment professionals who help us with real-time updates across the industrials and materials universe. In particular, Mark Van Der Pluym has a deep and diverse knowledge of the space and keeps us in the loop with news flow, commentary and useful anecdotes from management and his firm’s in-house research analysts.

• I think the [technology, media and telecommunications] e-mail summaries from Thomas Wigg and Sean Diffley, in particular, are terrific. They provide alpha-generating ideas by taking specific data points and relating them to bigger-picture themes. Their commentary on sentiment and positioning of other funds from their vantage point on a large platform is also helpful.

Austin Zeigler writes an invaluable premarket note that summarizes key events in the space and analyzes recent price action. He’s got his finger on the pulse of the group and adds value to my daily process and decision-making.

J.P. Morgan salespeople undergo a similarly extensive training program, which is overseen by Michael Bossidy, New York–based head of distribution for the Americas. In addition, “we put a premium on our salespeople to have a market opinion,” he says. “There is no better time in our global markets to assist institutional investors with our best view of global markets.”

Clients appreciate the difference. “They are very knowledgeable about not only their own research products but the stock markets, in general, so that they can come up with a broad range of professional services and good investment ideas,” marvels one portfolio manager. (Unless instructed otherwise, we keep confidential the identities of survey respondents and their firms to ensure their continuing cooperation.)

Adds another: “J.P. Morgan’s sales team still remembers the golden rule that has almost been forgotten on Wall Street — the customer comes first.”

Individuals who stand out in investors’ minds include:

• Their sales team is top of the line and has always gone out of the way for me, whether I was at a large shop or a small one. They have helped foster relationships with the analysts and give access wherever needed. William Freeman has gone above and beyond, helping me network to find a new job when my prior firm collapsed and also putting me in contact with the first hire I made at the new shop.

Richard Hyman is the best salesperson I’ve worked with. Unlike other salespeople, if he reaches out to us, it is for a good reason, and it is typically value additive.

Leslie Perkins is one of the best on the Street, working tirelessly to help her clients outperform. James Smith, Erik Sulzbach and Daniel Antonelli round out the all-star cast.

Ashley Ragsdale is our salesperson, and she is excellent because she always calls me back the same day — and normally within an hour if she is in the office; when I call her to schedule analyst time, she gets on the request right away and usually gives me a few options to choose from; she brings sell-side analysts through Charlotte [North Carolina]; she brings management teams through Charlotte; and she is a pleasure to deal with.

Jon Rich, the consumer sector specialist, is on top of critical news, and his daily intelligence updates are a very useful source of information.

William Ryan does an exceptional job of servicing this account. He highlights the research of J.P. Morgan that he believes will be most useful to us. He always returns calls and has helped set up management visits. Bill also helps sign me up for one of the most important conferences of the year, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January.

• A great salesperson is like a great waiter at a restaurant: They know when to bother you and they know when to leave you alone — and when they do bother you, they are responsive to your needs. Charles Wardell definitely fits that bill.

Each year II invites participants in the broader All-America Research Team survey to name up to four firms that they feel provide the best sales support. We received responses from more than 2,740 buy-side analysts and money managers at 940 firms that collectively manage some $10.5 trillion in U.S. equity assets. Roughly 72 percent of those who cast votes in the research team survey, representing 90 percent of the participating buy-side institutions, answered our question about the best sales teams.

Nearly 60 firms appear on this year’s All-America Sales Team roster. To view the top ten, click on the Leaders link located in the navigation table on the right. Information about squads that meet minimum-vote and other eligibility criteria but do not appear in the top ten is available from the Institutional Investor Research Group. For information please contact Alyssa Walker at

For information about how we compiled this ranking, click on Methodology.


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