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All-Japan Hall of Fame - Hironari Nozaki

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 Hironari Nozaki Banks First appearance: 2003

No. of total appearances: 11

No. of first-place appearances: 10 Hironari Nozaki knows banks inside and out.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics at Tokyo’s Keio University in 1986, he accepted a position in the planning department of Asahi Bank. “One unforgettable task was when I had the opportunity to negotiate with the Japanese government for the injection of public funds into the banking system during the financial crisis of 1997–’99,” he recalls. “My experience at the bank was what encouraged me to think about the next step in my career: to look at banks from the outside. It was a great coincidence that at the same time I began thinking about this, a reliable headhunter contacted me and talked about the opportunity of becoming a banks analyst.”

Nozaki moved to ABN Amro in 2000, then to HSBC Securities (Japan) in 2001, covering financial services stocks each time. In 2003 he debuted on Institutional Investor’s All-Japan Research Team, as a runner-up in Banks; he rocketed to first place the following year and has held that position ever since, even securing the sector’s top spot during his transition to his current firm, Citi, in 2004.

Over the years he picked up other degrees, including a master’s in public and private management at Yale School of Management in Connecticut and a PhD in policy studies at Chiba University of Commerce. His doctoral thesis, “Banking Policy for Enhancement of Financial Stability: Manager Characteristics, Compensation and Moral Hazard in Japanese Banks,” was published in book form as Crime and Punishment of Banks.

“No one is more knowledgeable about financial regulation than Nozaki,” one money manager tells II, as the analyst celebrates his tenth consecutive appearance in the winner’s circle.

“Globally speaking, banking is one of the most exciting sectors,” the 49-year-old analyst contends. “There is not a single day when we do not see some news that affects the sector.”

When asked what advice he wishes he had received before embarking on a career on the sell side, the Tokyo-based researcher doesn’t hesitate: “‘Love the stocks, not the companies.’ The share prices of excellent companies do not necessarily perform well,” he explains. “The analyst’s job is to find hidden value, even in poorly managed companies.” — Thomas W. Johnson


Atsushi Yamaguchi

Hidemaru Yamaguchi

Hironari Nozaki


Katsushi Saito

Kenichiro Yoshida

Naoto Hashimoto

Nobuyuki Saji

Toshihiko Okino

Toshinori Ito