2016 All-Asia Research Team: South Korea, No. 1: Young-Ah Han, Bryan Song & team
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has captured first place on this lineup seven times, including its current six-year run at the top.
Young-Ah Han, Bryan Song & team
Bank of America
First-Place Appearances: 7
Total Appearances: 17
Team Debut: 1999
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has captured first place on this lineup seven times, including its current six-year run at the top. Under the stewardship of long-time leader Bryan Song and newcomer Young-Ah Han, its Seoul-based troupe reports on 80 South Korean names. The researchers ”offer in-depth analyses, interdisciplinary thematic reports and timely, action-oriented calls — the whole package,” declares one fund manager. In June they became more upbeat on NongShim Co., which makes beverages, instant noodles and snacks, noting the strength of its new premium noodles. Upgraded from neutral to buy at that time, the stock had soared 43.4 percent by late April, to 374,500 won, while South Korea’s shares overall slipped 1.9 percent. BofA Merrill’s squad tags Samsung Life Insurance Co. as a favorite going forward, thanks to increasing demand for the Seoul-headquartered multinational insurance company’s products, as well as a declining loss ratio and rising dividend. Its price target is 135,000 won, representing 20.5 percent upside potential from Samsung Life’s late April value. Song, 46, also co-directs the firm’s coverage of regional banks. The team that he and Yi (Winnie) Wu oversee earns its third consecutive No. 3 showing on that lineup. Han also co-manages the first-place crews on the Consumer rosters this year, with Chen Lu in Discretionary and with Yuanyuan (Tina) Long in Staples. The 45-year-old researcher joined BofA Merrill in 2005 from Samsung Securities; she earned a bachelor’s degree at Ewha Woman’s University and an MBA from Sogang University, both in Seoul.