The data were compiled by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., the New York-based investment banking firm. KBW chose the 100 largest publicly traded financial services companies as measured by assets. Five companies that went public in the past 5 years-Goldman Sachs Group, John Hancock Financial Services, Allmerica Financial Corp., MONY Group and Nationwide Financial Services-were excluded. Government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae were also excluded.KBW ranked each company on six criteria:
- Average annual return on equity over five years
- Average annual ROE over three years
- Average ROE for 1999
- Five-year compound growth rate of per-share earnings
- Three-year compound growth rate of per-share earnings
- Growth in earnings per share 1998-1999.
The total score is a sum of each company's rank in each category. In case of a tied score, the company with the higher growth in earnings per share in 1999 is ranked higher.