It's an annual nightmare for Moscow's analysts. US magazine Institutional Investor has just announced the results of its "best analyst" survey, bringing to an end a three-month endless round of dinners, clubbing and "stationary" expenditure trying to get clients' votes. One banker known to bne burnt through $250,000 of expenses pre-crisis purely on making sure he won the top analyst award.
Officially, the final rankings are based on the results of the voting by more than 600 buy-side analysts and portfolio managers at some 400 institutions worldwide, who oversee an estimated $476bn in emerging market equity and fixed-income assets. In reality, lets just say people's position on the list doesn't depend that heavily on their ability. After all, you don't have to take all 600 voters out to dinner; about 50 will probably do it.
Which is not to say the winners are undeserving: most of the people at the top of the tree in Russia's investment banking firmament are extremely good at what they do. But this year's results are symptomatic of the changes that Russia's investment banking business is going through. For years, Renaissance Capital dominated the rankings, taking "best analyst in Russia" and a slew of sector specific categories. This year, VTB Capital moved in to take the best analysts in four categories and challenging Rencap for top-dog status.
"According to the Institutional Investor 2012 Emerging Markets Equity and Fixed-Income Research Team Survey, VTB Capital's research team is the best in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in four sectors: Commodities (Wiktor Bielski & team); Fixed Income Strategy (Nikolay Podguzov & team); Equity Strategy (Alexey Zabotkin & team); and Transportation (Elena Sakhnova & team)," the bank said in a press release.
VTB Capital ranked first in twice the number of categories than it did in 2011. Given that Rencap was forced to sack 40 people in May after losses tripled to nearly $100m in 2011, expect VTB Capital to do even better next year.
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