TODAY’S shorlists for City A.M.’s third annual awards present our pick of the best rising stars and fund managers in the Square Mile.

Even in economically straitened times, there are plenty of young men and women in the City on the rise, as shown in the Rising Star category. From entrepreneurs and private equity experts to restructuring lawyers and even administrators, many firms are still keen to promote and celebrate the highest flyers.

Mid-level M&A remains buoyant, as reflected by several nominees on our shortlist for Rising Star of the Year, while law firms still appear to value those with a knack for detail and the ability to smooth the path of the deals that are getting done in the City.

And amid continued volatility across the equity markets, analysts who can see through the turbulence to pinpoint the trajectory of a firm in their sector have never been more sought-after.

The number of candidates from across numerous industries who were nominated for this award shows that the future chief executives and City rainmakers are still thriving in their own niches.

Waqqas Ahmad
Lloyds Development Capital

Waqqas Ahmad, an investment director at LDC since 2008, has been nominated for a string of deals that show off “his breadth of sector experience”. The chartered accountant focuses on mid-market technology, media and telecoms, and played a key part in recent deals including the £40m purchase of Learndirect last October, a £41m management buyout at WorkPlace Systems in January and a substantial investment in web host UK2 Group.

Anya Cummins
Cavendish Corporate Finance

Anya Cummins joined Cavendish as an associate director from Deloitte last year and has been kept busy ever since with several high-profile deals. Clients are said to appreciate her global expertise, gained while studying international business, Spanish and French at Dublin City University. Recent transactions include advising Robert Dyas and its lenders during this month’s sale to Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, and working on the $100m sale of Raleigh Cycle to Accell Group earlier in the year.

Barry McHugh
Dundas & Wilson

Real estate lawyer Barry McHugh has recently been behind the scenes during numerous retail property deals, even though he only qualified to practise English law last year. The Scottish solicitor, who moved to London in 2010, worked for retailers taking space in the newly-opened Westfield Stratford, as well as for Land Securities in deals linked to the Trinity Leeds scheme, opening next year. He has been praised for his approachable manner and his head for details.

Lala Gregorek
Edison Investment Research

Lala Gregorek, who has recently been promoted to associate director in the healthcare research team at Edison Investment Research, has already picked up plaudits for her work in the pharma and healthcare sector, winning her firm its first StarMine award last month. The biological sciences graduate worked as a credit analyst for Lehman Brothers and Dresdner Kleinwort before making the jump back into healthcare in 2007, after she completed an MPhil in bioscience enterprise at Cambridge.

Michael Steele

Michael Steele became one of the magic circle law firm’s youngest partners when he was elected to the role this year, aged 30. The finance specialist joined the company in 2008 after starting his career in Australia, and has built up a formidable deal list since then. He advised on engineering group Stork’s innovative restructuring, CVC and BC Partners during their unsuccessful bid for BSN Medial, and Cinven on its £950m acquisition of patent firm CPA Global.