CLSA Global Emerging Markets is unfazed by a survey that indicated a sharp decline in fund-manager support for the brokerage's research.
According to a Reuters Tempest Survey of Hong Kong and the mainland, three leading global investment banks were dominating Asian research and broker commissions.
This finding was not news to many middle-tier brokerages.
Many of these brokers said they had been made increasingly aware of this trend since the Asian crisis began.
However, a substantial drop in overall votes from funds for CLSA's research efforts goes against surveys that rank CLSA as number one.
In the Reuters Tempest survey, CLSA received a 5.69 per cent weighted-average vote, a sharp decline from 11.28 per cent last year.
The result was in stark contrast to Euromoney's annual Asian broker survey in September last year, which found CLSA came out on top for overall equity research in Asia.
Asiamoney also gave CLSA top billing in a survey in October last year.
Other surveys have also given CLSA top marks.
'I'm surprised by the findings on the research,' Worldsec director Carlton Poon said of the Reuters Tempest survey.
'[CLSA] does a very good and well-regarded conference,' he said.
'I'm surprised by the drop.' Another analyst said the survey was still in its infancy and not largely followed.
'You would not put much weighting on it,' he said.
However, the findings were on the mark for some analysts.
'It's old-style broking,' an analyst said of CLSA.
'I think they are very well-regarded historically for having a good nose for marketing, and they are very client-oriented,' he said.
'But the industry has moved on.' Another market observer said CLSA was in the process of moving itself from country-based research to an industry sector approach.
'My guess is that if you have traditionally done well on the country-based side and if you therefore start to reposition it with more emphasis on the industry sector, your trading-client base tends to move away from you.' he said.
'There are five big [industry] sectors, and they don't do well there.' CLSA scored high for its research of utilities and mainland shares, and it took first place from fund managers for Hong Kong economics and strategy, he said.
CLSA said yesterday the research findings would not prompt the company to undergo a reassessment, as the results of Reuters Tempest survey were contrary to other major surveys.
'The whole philosophy of CLSA is building on our country focus,' a CLSA spokesman said.
'We do try to get the balance right between our country focus and industry focus.'