CREDIT Lyonnais Securities (Asia) swept into the top slot for Hongkong in Extel's influential brokerage survey, moving up from ninth position last year.
In what has become an increasingly competitive market in the territory, the French firm leapt past both British and local firms with a score of 18 points.
S.G. Warburg came second on 15 points and Baring Securities was third on 12 points.
There were no American firms featured in the list, despite increasingly aggressive recruitment drives and expansion plans from companies such as Salomon Brothers and Morgan Stanley.
In its 20th annual survey of investment analysts, the financial information firm sent out 210 questionnaires to British-based fund managers and received replies from 122 managers responsible for some GBP725 billion (about HK$8.49 trillion) worth of funds.
Respondents were asked to rank houses and their analysts in terms of sector knowledge, written fundamental research, frequency of follow-up and accuracy of recommendations and earnings forecasts.
Barings secured the top slot for its Singapore and Malaysia offices for the second year running, with James Capel, last year's third runner-up, coming second and Smith New Court third.
Credit Lyonnais Laing was tied for sixth in Singapore and Malaysia, sharing the position with Swiss Bank Corp. It had received no ranking in 1992.
Among the local houses, Peregrine came sixth in Hongkong and 17th in Singapore and Malaysia, and Singaporean firm Kim Eng was ranked 11th in Hongkong and eighth on home ground.
Robert Fleming Securities was ranked fifth in the territory and seventh in Singapore and Malaysia.
In Japan, the league table was topped by blue-blooded British houses. Kleinwort Benson came top ahead of Barclays de Zoete Wedd and Barings.