After two years on the second team, Colin Crook leads his two-member UBS crew back to the top spot.
Aerospace & Defense Colin Crook & team UBS
second team Steven East Credit Suisse
third team Charles Armitage & team BofA–Merrill Lynch
runner-up Benjamin Fidler & team Deutsche
After two years on the second team, Colin Crook leads his two-member UBS crew back to the top spot. Crook, 48, “is prepared to go against consensus,” attests one supporter. The team stuck with an early but prescient February 2007 downgrade to sell on Rolls-Royce Group, the British aircraft-engine manufacturer, on declining demand. The stock, then at 525.00p, sank 36.1 percent in 2008, to end the year at 335.50p. During the same period the sector dropped 33.1 percent. Steven East slips one spot to second place. The Credit Suisse analyst, who now works solo, is hailed for his “consistency” by one money manager who cites East’s long-standing sell recommendation on Airbus manufacturer European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. First downgraded to sell all the way back in October 2006, largely on EADS’s sizable cash outflows and production delays, the shares plummeted 44.4 percent last year. Repeating in third place is the Banc of America Securities–Merrill Lynch duo headed by Charles Armitage . In September the team downgraded British engine-parts maker GKN to underperform, at 223.50p, on its exposure to the deteriorating automotive sector. By mid-December the stock had plunged to 85.00p, a fall of 62.0 percent that underperformed the sector’s loss by 42.8 percentage points, and the team upgraded it to neutral, as oversold. By year-end the shares had surged back to 97.00p. “They don’t overegg the pudding by trying to be too smart, something that many analysts do,” notes one advocate.
Building & Construction
Arnaud Pinatel & team Exane BNP Paribas
second team Mark Stockdale & team UBS
third team Harry Goad, Arnaud Lehmann Credit Suisse
runners-up Clyde Lewis & team Citi; Michael Betts J.P. Morgan
Business & Employment Services
Jaime Brandwood, Mark Shepperd & team UBS
second team Marc Van’t Sant & team Citi Citi
third team Andrew Ripper & team BofA–Merrill Lynch
runner-up Andrew Chu, Thomas Sykes & team Deutsche
The four-strong UBS squad, enjoying a fifth consecutive appearance in the winner’s circle, is “one of the few teams that will come meet you in your office,” says one appreciative investor. Co-led by Mark Shepperd , 52, and Jaime Brandwood , 32, the team upgraded Britain’s Capita Group to buy in November 2007, at 662.50p, and has highlighted the call repeatedly since, citing strong sales growth. Shares of the outsourcing-services provider rose to 738.00p through December 2008, a gain of 11.4 percent that handily outpaced the sector’s loss by 27.0 percentage points. Clients say the Citi trio led
by Marc Van’t Sant , which jumps from runner-up to second place, offers “crystal-clear reporting” and “deep industry knowledge.” Rising unemployment prompted the team to downgrade Switzerland’s Adecco, the world’s biggest staffing agency, to sell in October 2007, at Sf70.80. By year-end 2008, Adecco’s share price had slid 49.5 percent, to Sf35.78. Repeating in third place is the three-member Banc of America Securities–Merrill Lynch group led by Andrew Ripper . The team broke with the consensus in January 2008 by telling investors to buy Ireland’s Experian, at 363.75p, on the belief that the credit-reporting agency would enjoy robust growth. By December 31, Experian’s share price had risen 18.8 percent, to 432.00p.
Andreas Willi & team J.P. Morgan
second team Mark Troman & team BofA–Merrill Lynch
third team Carl Frederic Stahl & team UBS
runner-up Colin Grant, James Stettler & team Dresdner Kleinwort
Leaping from runner-up to claim top honors for the first time is the J.P. Morgan Securities duo led by Andreas Willi , described by one portfolio manager as “the most thorough analyst in the City — the research he produces is always worth reading.” In December 2007 the team downgraded ABB to neutral from overweight, mostly on valuation, which proved wise: Shares of the Swiss robotics provider had dropped 52.6 percent by the end of 2008, trailing the sector by 4.6 percentage points. Willi, 37, earned a master’s degree in finance from the University of Zurich in 1997 and joined J.P. Morgan the following year. The Banc of America Securities–Merrill Lynch quartet conducted by Mark Troman slips to second place. The team impressed clients with a May downgrade of Britain’s Bodycote International to sell from neutral, on concern that the metallurgical-coating provider’s announced disposal of its materials-testing division was ill-timed, given depressed market values. The stock, then at 417.57p, had plunged to 212.45p by October, and the analysts prematurely raised it to neutral, on valuation. The shares were trading at a split-adjusted 123.00p at year-end. Investors say the “smart but never arrogant” Troman leaves “no question unanswered.” Newcomer Carl Frederic Stahl steers the seven-member UBS team, unranked last year, to third place. The analysts wowed investors with a pair of January downgrades, lowering Swedish truck makers Volvo from buy to neutral and Scania from buy to sell, after a proprietary survey showed that both had exaggerated their order backlogs. By December 31 the stocks had skidded 53.4 and 49.0 percent, respectively. Stahl “was the first to talk about the double-bookings, which the managements later conceded,” asserts one backer.
Timothy Marshall & team UBS
second team Menno Sanderse & team Morgan Stanley
third team Mark McVicar & team Dresdner Kleinwort
runners-up Roger Elliott, Andrew Light & team Citi; Damian Brewer & team J.P. Morgan