2015 All-Asia Research Team: China, No. 1: David Cui, Ting Lu & team
David Cui, Ting Lu & teamBank of America Merrill LynchFirst-place appearances: 4
Total appearances: 11
Team debut: 1994For a fourth year running, Bank of America Merrill Lynch garners the top spot on this roster. David Cui in Singapore and Hong Kong–based Ting Lu co-captain the 40-member troupe, which wins investor praise for delivering “timely and comprehensive macro and strategy research,” in the words of one fund manager. In tracking more than 200 Chinese companies, the analysts provide “insights beyond the numbers, as well as valuable industry and governmental connections,” a second supporter observes. One long-standing favorite in their coverage universe is China CITIC Bank Corp., a Beijing-headquartered bank that is among the nation’s largest commercial lenders. In December 2013 the squad dubbed it a top pick, judging the shares a bargain at 3.79 yuan and predicting that China CITIC’s strong bottom-line growth would drive performance after the effects of the government’s recent deposit rate liberalization settled out. They were right, and by the end of last month, the stock had soared to 7.93 yuan, advancing 64.5 percent during the trailing 12-month period and besting China’s broad market by 21 percentage points. As he did last year, 47-year-old Cui teams with Ajay Kapur in leading the firm’s Equity Strategy crew, which earns the No. 2 position on that roster. Lu, 40, and Hak Bin Chua direct their Economics group to a third consecutive top finish on that lineup. This year perhaps marks Lu’s last appearance on behalf of BofA Merrill; he left the firm earlier this spring and is expected to join China’s Huatai Securities Co. in June.