Total appearances: 11
Team debut: 1994
For a fourth year running, Bank of America Merrill Lynch garners the top spot on this roster. David Cui in Singapore and Hong Kongbased 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 nations 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 CITICs strong bottom-line growth would drive performance after the effects of the governments 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 Chinas broad market by 21 percentage points. As he did last year, 47-year-old Cui teams with Ajay Kapur in leading the firms 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 Lus last appearance on behalf of BofA Merrill; he left the firm earlier this spring and is expected to join Chinas Huatai Securities Co. in June.