Co-headed by Praveen Choudhary and Simon Lee, Morgan Stanley’s crew repeats at the top of this roster. With 50 researchers in Hong Kong reporting on some 350 companies, it’s little wonder they “remain one of the most influential teams,” as one admirer observes. “Fund managers do well to take their views seriously.” Regarding specific stock coverage, constituents highlight the group’s prescient call on Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. In April 2014, when management acknowledged that it was in discussions with mainland counterparts regarding the potential establishment of market connectivity between the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges, the analysts raised their rating on the stock from equal weight to overweight. They reasoned that mutual access would increase HKEx’s business and, consequently, boost its multiples. Sure enough, the Shanghai–Hong Kong Stock Connect agreement was announced days later and took effect in November, and it has indeed served as a catalyst for the sole operator of Hong Kong’s stock and futures exchanges. By the end of last month, average daily trading volume and values had soared — along with the share price, which rocketed 128.3 percent, to HK$296.60, against the broader market’s gain of 18.3 percent. The researchers remain bullish on HKEx, assigning it a price objective of HK$385. “They were one of the first to seize this opportunity,” avows another fan. As last year, Choudhary and Lee appear in multiple sectors. Choudhary also directs the No. 2 troupe in Gaming & Lodging and joins with Chun Hung (John) Lam in guiding a runner-up squad in Property, while Lee also oversees the second-place team in Power.