Alpha Magazine is releasing the winners of its 2008 Alpha Awards this week. The four categories judged by a survey of hedge fund manager in the spring and summer are: law firms, prime brokerages, accounting firms and administrators. Results are being released at Alpha‘s website all this week.
Shartsis Friese and Walkers scored top spots for law firms in yesterday’s release. And today (October 22), in what is surely a relief to the overworked and overstressed folks at Morgan Stanley, that firm took top spot in the prime brokerage rankings.
No category has been impacted as much by the credit crunch as prime brokerages. As Alpha points out, the September 15 bankruptcy of Lehman left the prime brokerage industry “cracked open like an egg“. The magazine reports that Morgan Stanley’s prime brokerage business has dropped by as much as 40% since the end of the third quarter. But Alpha also writes that:
“Morgan’s franchise, especially among long-short equity clients, remains strong…And even today [Morgan and #2 Goldman] appear well positioned to consolidate their strengths in the hedge fund market over the long term.”
Merrill Lynch made a surprise jump from #10 last year to #5 this year. So it appears that after selling its #4 ranked prime brokerage to BNP Paribas only weeks ago, Bank of America is back in the game with another top 5 franchise.