Industries: Insurance – Second

Duncan Russell & team, J.P. Morgan Cazenove

In second place for a second consecutive year is J.P. Morgan Cazenove’s party of five piloted by Duncan Russell. The London-based team has “the best understanding of the key drivers of profitability, cash generation and the solvency status of insurance companies,” according to one money manager. The analysts follow a whopping 45 companies and expect to increase that number by 10 percent this year. Insurance stocks are volatile at present — the sector slid 13.4 percent in 2011 — mainly because their prices are linked to the outlook for government bonds, Russell explains. “As those concerns seep into the market, they put pressure on share prices,” he adds. The researchers are urging clients to focus on companies that are cutting costs or repositioning their products in the marketplace; the Netherlands’ Aegon, U.K.-based Aviva and Germany’s Munich Re fit this profile, Russell says.