Awards for Excellence 2003: Best equity house
It was difficult this year to find a firm that excelled in more than one region enough to justify the best equities house award. Goldman Sachs was close. Its US capital markets franchise is solid, and it has one of the largest, most automated, sales and trading desks. And it rivals UBS in Europe in capital raising. It is weaker on sales and trading, though, and its research platform is not rated highly across enough sectors. In the US especially there is a sense that Goldman's commitment to full-service research has dwindled.
Morgan Stanley was the other strong contender, and won the category in the US this year. It has returned with a vengeance to the equity-linked market, remains a top two prime brokerage house, has one of the better regarded research franchises, and has built an electronic trading platform that is both cost efficient and scalable. Its European trading operations, though, as with Goldman, are much smaller, as is its research platform. What's more, its capital-raising operations in Europe have not been as robust as the firm would like this year, taking hits, for example, on block trades for Repsol and Reckitt Benckiser.
UBS, on the other hand, is the clear leader across all equities in Europe, and wins this year's western European equities award.