This content is from: Research

BofA Merrill Repeats at No. 1 in Asia Sales

"Very good stock calls" is one reason why a Hong Kong–based client insists that one BofA Merrill salesperson is tops in this year's All-Asia Sales Team.

From Locked ranking

Related Content The All-Asia Research Team May 13, 2013 The All-Asia Trading Team May 13, 2013 Asia’s Top Corporate Access Providers May 13, 2013

Bank of America Merrill Lynch leads Institutional Investor’s All-Asia Sales Team for a second consecutive year. Morgan Stanley jumps from No. 4 to No. 2, bumping UBS and CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets down one notch each, to third and fourth place, respectively. Deutsche Bank rises one rung to the fifth position.

“Over the past six months, correlations globally — and in the Asia-Pacific region — have fallen,” notes Richard Boseley, head of Asia-Pacific equity sales for BofA Merrill in Hong Kong. “This trend demonstrates that bottom-up fundamentals, stock picking and alpha-based strategies have reasserted themselves as the most important inputs for our sales team.”

Vincent Chui, global head of Asia equity distribution at Morgan Stanley, concurs. “Investors expect equity sales to help them navigate the market noise to deliver strong conviction ideas,” says Chui, who is headquartered in Hong Kong. “There is not enough beta — and in some emerging markets, beta is negative — so alpha generation is critical.”

Money managers say these sales teams deliver. “Very good stock calls” is one reason why a Hong Kong–based client insists that BofA Merrill’s Joseph Mirpuri “is the best salesperson I have ever dealt with in my career.” (The names of the investors surveyed and the firms they work for are kept confidential to ensure their continuing cooperation, unless they instruct otherwise.)

Jacqueline Chen draws comparable praise from one customer in Taiwan: “She does a great job of providing timely and useful updates.”

One portfolio manager acknowledges putting Edward Han through the paces — and says the salesman always delivers. “Sometimes I throw him random requests, and he makes every effort to get all possible resources for me,” this New Yorker says. “He’s always very responsive.”

The crew at Morgan Stanley garners similar praise. “Saumya Srivastav on India and Eugene Lim on China and Hong Kong offer good insights into their domestic markets, are reactive to bespoke questions and reach out on themes that they know are of interest to us,” says one buy-side supporter at a Swiss firm.

One investor in London echoes that view with regard to Tanit Curry and Yanny Leung: “They’re extremely diligent, have good market insights and are very helpful.”

Victoria Mio of Netherlands-based Robeco Group is outspoken in her appreciation of Morgan Stanley’s Candy Wong and her associates covering China. “They have a sense of urgency in fulfilling requests, keep me informed of their latest research and arrange very good research trips for us,” the senior portfolio manager says.

The latter service is becoming increasingly important, money managers say, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the two firms that rank highest on this year’s All-Asia Sales Team share first-place honors in II’s inaugural ranking of Asia’s Top Corporate Access Providers.

BofA Merrill’s Boseley reports that changing market conditions are spurring this interest. “For many years the Asian markets have been characterized by beta trades, with the macro environment serving as the key driver,” he says. “However, returns have become increasingly alpha- or idea-driven recently. Picking the right company at exactly the right time has thus become extremely important for investors in the current environment.”

The 2013 All-Asia Sales Team reflects the opinions of approximately 2,330 buy-side analysts and money managers at some 875 firms that collectively manage an estimated $1.52 trillion in Asia ex-Japan equity assets. Roughly 74 percent of the people who cast votes in the research team survey, representing 89 percent of the participating buy-side institutions, answered our question about the best sales teams.

Related Content