|Hanzhi Ding, Kyung (Sonia) Song & team|
|Bank of America|
First-Place Appearances: 3
Total Appearances: 13
Team Debut: 2000
Kyung (Sonia) Song and newcomer Hanzhi Ding left Nomura last May and subsequently joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch, whose crew they steer to the top for the first time since 2011. Heekyung (Kenneth) Whee and Thomas Wong, who led this squad to third place last year, both jumped to Credit Suise in July. The nine analysts track 65 Asian oil and gas shares from their offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Sydney. “Their coverage is wide and content is substantial,” remarks one money manager. Asia’s oil and gas names tumbled 10.2 percent year to date into early February, then changed course, climbing 9.6 percent through late April. Powering the turnaround, says Song, were China’s players. Reform of that nation’s state-owned enterprises, “and the following announcements of asset sales and restructuring plans by Sinopec Kantons and PetroChina all drove the sector rally,” she explains. “SOE reform will remain as the key driver for an additional 10 percent return in the rest of 2014.” The BofA Merrill troupe is urging investors to buy PetroChina Co., Asia’s largest oil and gas producer, deeming it the key beneficiary of China’s gas price reform, “which sets the price to rise 6 percent per annum from 2014 to 2016, or 10 percent per annum if there’s another gas price hike in 2014 or 2015,” Song notes. At HK$11, the researchers’ target for PetroChina’s shares implies a 25 percent upside to their late April trading value. Ding, 30, tracked this sector at Citi before joining Nomura. He holds a BA from China’s Southeast University and earned two master’s degrees, the first in engineering from the University of Washington and the second in management from California’s Stanford University. Song, 44, obtained a BA in Chinese language and literature at South Korea’s Yonsei University then an MBA at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Before jumping to Nomura she covered this sector at HSBC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and several other firms.