• List compiles best sell-side equity analysts in the U.S
  • More than three-quarters of the best analysts retain top spot

Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch overtook JPMorgan Chase & Co. to claim the top spot among U.S. equity-research firms, this year’s Institutional Investor’s rankings showed.

JPMorgan came in second, ending a five-year reign as the best performer. The companies are ranked based on the number of industries in which they have one of the top three analysts, according to Tom Johnson, director of research at Institutional Investor magazine. Bank of America analysts appeared in 38 of 60 categories, compared with 36 for JPMorgan.

Barclays Plc and Evercore ISI both leaped to third place from fourth and fifth, respectively, last year. Morgan Stanley also tied in at third, unchanged from 2014.

Analysts Umer Raffat of Evercore ISI and Michael Webber of Wells Fargo & Co. got the top spots in health-care and shipping coverage, respectively. They entered the list for the first time. Mark Schoenebaum, a colleague of Raffat at Evercore ISI, became the second analyst in the survey’s 44-year history to top three separate industries -- large-cap biotechnology, mid- and small-cap biotechnology and major pharmaceuticals -- in a single year.

JPMorgan still has the most analysts coming first in individual categories, followed by Evercore ISI.

Of the 60 analysts named at the top of their sector, 48 already led their field last year.

In its 2015 All-America Research Team ranking, Institutional Investor reviewed 285 analysts from 31 firms, surveying 3,800 equity managers at more than 1,000 companies. The respondents oversee an estimated $11.3 trillion in U.S. equities.

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