The drive by US banks has been at the expense of UK banks and integrated European banks. Last year's total of Americans in the top 10 compares with four the year before.
Some US investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, have spent the last decade building up their cross-border advisory work in Europe, partly to get round the dominance of local advisers in domestic deals within European countries. The league table confirms the success of this strategy.
The US banks have "effectively a stranglehold on European cross-border mergers and acquisitions advisory work", said Philip Healey, editor of Acquisitions Monthly, which produced the data.
Lazards came top as a result of advising - jointly with the US bank JP Morgan - CarnaudMetalbox of France during a pounds 3.3bn takeover bid from Crown Cork & Seal of the US, the largest cross-border deal of the year. Lazards finished in sixth place in 1995. In total it advised on 46 deals worth pounds 12bn.
Second came Morgan Stanley of the US, with 26 deals worth more than pounds 11bn, while Goldman Sachs, first the year before, slipped to third with more than pounds 10bn.
JP Morgan was fifth, from 11th the year before, Merrill Lynch was sixth and Lehman Brothers eighth.
Acquisitions Monthly counts Credit Suisse First Boston as an American investment bank, which it said was for consistency with its previous data, bringing the total of Americans in the top 10 to six.
However, a spokeswoman for Credit Suisse said CSFB was now Swiss-owned and Swiss- registered and should be counted as a European bank.
UK banks had a poor year in Europe, with only Rothschild making it into the top 10, at number nine. Schroders was 11th, a fall from fourth the year before, and BZW was 15th.
SBC Warburg, the Swiss- owned group based in London, fell from second to seventh place while Deutsche Morgan Grenfell was 16th, after eighth place in 1995.
Societe Generale was the highest placed French bank at 10th, whereas the highest in 1995 was Banque Indosuez at 20th.
Acquisitions Monthly said towards the end of 1995 Merrill Lynch paid attractive salaries to lure experienced staff from Wall Street rivals and from Deutsche Morgan Grenfell.
"The league table seems positive proof that digging deep into one's pocket to hire the right people can have an almost immediate effect."
Cross-border league table
Financial advisers on European cross-border transactions January - December 1996, ranked by value of transactions
Adviser No of deals Value pounds m
1 Lazard Houses (6*) 46 12,003 2 Morgan Stanley (3) 26 11,085 3 Goldman Sachs (1) 23 10,815 4 Credit Suisse First Boston (5) 22 9,980 5 JP Morgan (11) 29 9,386 6 Merrill Lynch (13) 13 8,236 7 SBC Warburg (2) 41 5,896 8 Lehman Brothers (9) 23 4,289 9 Rothschild Group (7) 25 3,907 10 Societe Generale (-) 15 3,756 11 Schroders (4) 13 3,743 12 Baring Brothers (19) 14 3,216 13 Kleinwort Benson (17) 13 3,117 14 UBS (18) 10 2,491 17 Banque Paribas (-) 19 2,236 15 BZW (14) 5 2,164 16 Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (8) 39 1,997 18 Robert Fleming (16) 10 1,767 19 Hambros Bank (15) 6 1,160 20 NatWest Markets(-) 8 884
* 1995 full-year rating
The above table includes only those advisers acting on two or more transactions
Source: "Acquisitions Monthly"