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J.P. Morgan’s Joseph Greff Joins All-America Hall of Fame

The veteran researcher celebrates his tenth straight appearance at No. 1 in Gaming & Lodging.

Talk about the luck of the draw. Joseph Greff always wanted a career in equity research, but it was pretty much pure chance that led him to cover casinos and companies in the hospitality industry. The J.P. Morgan analyst has beaten the odds to amass more first-place appearances in Gaming & Lodging on Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team than anyone else who has covered the sector. With this year’s victory, his tenth, Greff earns entry into the All-America Research Team Hall of Fame.

“When I was pursuing research spots in the late 1990s, I was looking for sectors that were out of favor but were durable and sustainable,” the 45-year-old recalls. Few analysts seemed interested in covering leisure companies. “You can imagine that at this time, dot-coms, technology and telecommunications were the hot sectors — and I was lucky enough to have wanted to avoid them” before the Internet bubble burst in the spring of 2000 and tech stocks plummeted.

After graduating from Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Muhlenberg College with a double major in economics and mathematics, Greff spent about five years working as an insurance underwriter before recognizing that what he really wanted to do was publish company research. He enrolled in New York University’s Stern School of Business to pursue an MBA, which he earned in 1999.

“I used the business school route to transition into equity research intentionally,” he says. “I was attracted to the analytical rigor as well as the personal interaction and presentation skills needed for an analyst to successfully interface with buy-side clients and corporate management teams.”

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Greff covered gaming and lodging companies for Prudential Securities, ABN Amro and Fulcrum Global Partners before moving to Bear, Stearns & Co. in 2004. (The latter firm was acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2008.) He debuted on the All-America Research Team in 2005 as a runner-up in Gaming & Lodging, vaulted to the top of the roster the following year — and hasn’t budged since.

“Joe is an independent thinker who’s willing to break from the pack,” one survey participant told II the year Greff reached No. 1 for the first time, while in 2007 a buy-side supporter praised the analyst’s “top-notch models and good stock picking.”

Although Greff stumbled into the sector he covers, he acknowledges that things have worked out well. “The industries have experienced profound growth, sizable consolidation, and large up and down swings related to product and /or economic cycles,” the New York native says, “so it has been exciting.”

What advice would he offer someone considering a career in equity analysis? “This is a great field, where running a research franchise is effectively running your own business within a large, resourceful organization,” he responds. “It is demanding and fast-paced, requires travel, lots of writing, modeling and putting together presentations, and having a phone glued to your ear. This is a job that gives you constant feedback — and when you get favorable feedback from a client, it is a great, great feeling.”

Greff is the 56th individual inducted into the All-America Research Team Hall of Fame. Fourteen of the honorees appear on this year’s team:

* Meredith Adler of Barclays, Retailing/Food & Drug Chains

* Jeffrey deGraaf of Renaissance Macro Research, Technical Analysis

* Steven Fleishman of Wolfe Research, Electric Utilities

* Joseph Greff of J.P. Morgan, Gaming & Lodging

* Ed Hyman of Evercore ISI, Economics

* Andrew Lazar of Barclays, Food

* David Raso of Evercore ISI, Machinery

* Jessica Reif Cohen of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Media

* A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., IT Hardware & Electronics Manufacturing Services

* Mark Schoenebaum of Evercore ISI, Biotechnology/Large-Cap, Biotechnology/Mid- & Small-Cap, Pharmaceuticals/Major

* George Staphos of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Paper & Packaging

* Andrew Steinerman of J.P. Morgan, Business, Education & Professional Services

* Michael Weinstein of J.P. Morgan, Medical Supplies & Devices

* Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates, Homebuilders & Building Products

Three currently ranked analysts have amassed nine No. 1s each and so could meet Hall of Fame eligibility next year:

* James Covello of Goldman, Sachs & Co., Semiconductor Capital Equipment

* Robin Farley of UBS, Gaming & Lodging and Leisure

* François Trahan of Cornerstone Macro, Portfolio Strategy

Also in the running: Brian Tunick, who racked up nine straight visits to the winner’s circle in Retailing/Specialty Stores while at J.P. Morgan. He joined RBC Capital Markets in January but didn’t begin publishing until early May, when ballots for this year’s team were being distributed. As a result, Tunick doesn’t make the 2015 team — this is the first time he’s missed since his 2004 debut — but he could return next year.

The 2015 All-America Research Team reflects the opinions of a record 3,800 individuals at more than 1,000 firms, including over 90 of the 100 biggest U.S. equity managers. Our respondents manage an estimated $11.3 trillion in U.S. equities.

The All-America Research Team Hall of Fame
Listed below are the members of the All-America Research Team Hall of Fame, ranked by the total number of times they finished in first place in their sector(s), and the firms where they worked at the time of their most recent top appearances.
Ed Hyman,
Evercore ISI
35Dennis Leibowitz,
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
25Stephen Girsky,
Morgan Stanley
23Jerome Gitt,
Merrill Lynch
22
Michael Armellino,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
21Joel Price
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
20Jack Salzman,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
20Joseph Ellis,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
19
Richard Sherlund,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
17William Young,
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
17Robert Farrell,
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
16Patricia McConnell,
Bear, Stearns & Co.
16
George Staphos,
Bank of America
Merrill Lynch
16Kenneth Abramowitz,
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
15Robert Cornell,
Lehman Brothers
15Emanuel Goldman,
Paine Webber
15
David Raso,
Evercore ISI
15Mark Schoenebaum,
Evercore ISI
15Meredith Adler,
Barclays
14Jessica Reif Cohen,
Merrill Lynch
14
Ehud Gelblum,
Morgan Stanley
14Thomas Hanley,
UBS Securities
14Jerry Labowitz,
Merrill Lynch
14A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi,
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
14
Lee Seidler,
Bear, Stearns & Co.
14Steven Fleishman,
Wolfe Research
13Barry Good,
Morgan Stanley
13Jeffrey Klein,
Kidder, Peabody & Co.
13
Andrew Lazar,
Barclays
13Andrew Steinerman,
J.P. Morgan
13David Adelman,
Morgan Stanley
12Harvey Heinbach,
Merrill Lynch
12
John Hindelong,
Credit Suisse First Boston
12Curt Launer,
Credit Suisse
First Boston
12Steven Milunovich,
Merrill Lynch
12John Tumazos,
Prudential Securities
12
Michael Weinstein,
J.P. Morgan
12Gary Yablon,
Credit Suisse
First Boston
12Ivy Zelman,
Zelman & Associates
12Joseph Bellace,
Merrill Lynch
11
Jeffrey deGraaf,
Renaissance Macro Research
11Elaine Garzarelli,
Lehman Brothers
11Jonathan Goldfarb,
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
11B. Alexander Henderson,
Citigroup/Salomon Smith Barney
11
Jay Meltzer,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
11John Rohs,
Schroder Wertheim & Co.
11Jeffrey Sprague,
Citi
11Cai von Rumohr,
Cowen and Co.
11
Richard Bernstein,
Merrill Lynch
10Joseph Greff,
J.P. Morgan
10Ernest Liu,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
10John Mackin,
Morgan Stanley
10
J. Kendrick Noble Jr.,
Paine Webber
Mitchell Hutchins
10Katharine Plourde,
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
10William Siedenburg,
Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
10Harold Vogel,
Merrill Lynch
10

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