Western companies such as Countrywide Financial Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. lead the U.S. financial services industry in shareholder performance, according to an analysis released by Mercer Oliver Wyman, a risk management consulting firm.Research on risk-adjusted returns over the past five years shows that financial services companies headquartered on the West Coast and in states west of the Rocky Mountains have outperformed the rest of the U.S. industry by 60% since 2002, the firm reported. The West "substantially outperformed" the East on the firm's Shareholder Performance Index, with the West scoring a 141 and the East a 57, Mercer Oliver reported. "Though the technology industry captures most of the attention on the West Coast, our research shows that the region is building similar leadership in financial services," said Clarence Koo, managing director and head of Mercer Oliver's new San Francisco office. "As a group, Western financial firms lead the U.S. in terms of risk-adjusted shareholder performance."

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