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Italy

Best bank
UniCredit Best debt house
JPMorgan

Best equities house
Merrill Lynch

Best M&A house
Lazard

Best local partner
Mediobanca

UniCredit remains the best bank in Italy despite the rapid improvement in fortunes of Banca Intesa. UniCredit offers a better return on equity than its rival, despite a capital increase, and is more active in bonds, syndicated loans, equities and M&A. It also has a better cost-income ratio.

Both UniCredit and Banca Intesa are suffering from low market rates in their domestic markets, and competition between them is close.

In debt capital markets, as in Germany and France, local issuers are spoilt for choice of exceptionally high-quality banks vying for their business. Lehman Brothers has a long history of close relationships with issuers, particularly in structured finance. Merrill Lynch is also strong with corporates, financials and public bodies. CSFB has come roaring up the league tables. Deutsche Bank is reliable as ever. There really is little to separate them, but once again JPMorgan comes out on top of the league tables to win this award.

JPMorgan was a bookrunner for Telecom Italia in its inaugural US dollar bond, and for ENI in a sterling issue.

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