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Selling Europe to the US

Who's best at it? And which houses in the next few years will challenge those at the top? It means covering sectors not countries, and convincing 40 big fund managers that you have better information. Easy. Antony Currie reports.

Every equities broker selling into the US can prove that it's top of one league table or another. But which is the league that matters? ABN Amro, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Warburg Dillon Read, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch all claim top spots on coverage and business volume. Extend the surveys into research and star-rated analysts and others come into the frame.

But league tables don't often give the whole picture. The McLagan survey compiles its rankings by listing commission volumes - a good indicator - yet the more sensitive funds refuse to reveal how much they pay and these include some of the largest such as Capital, Janus, Tiger and American Century.

The league tables anyway will be turned on their head by the European single currency. Firms may also have to adjust to a slowdown in the US economy and an increasingly demanding investor base. Given these new factors, which houses can keep their place at the top of the league? "The three big US banks - Merrill, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs - and Warburg are pretty much assured a place," says one European broker. The rest will be fighting hard to come near them.

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