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The 2014 All-Japan Research Team: Banks, No. 1: Nana Otsuki

< The 2014 All-Japan Research Team
Nana Otsuki
Bank of America
Merrill Lynch
First-Place Appearances: 1

Total Appearances: 5

Analyst Debut: 2010

After four years spent bouncing between third place and second, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Nana Otsuki rises one notch to claim her first top finish, knocking ten-time champion Hironari Nozaki of Citi off the perch. Otsuki, 49, earned a bachelor's degree in literature at the University of Tokyo and an MBA at the London Business School. She tracked financials credits at Standard & Poor's then UBS, where she added coverage of banking equities. When she jumped to BofA Merrill in 2011, she continued with the same responsibilities, discontinuing her reporting on credits only in July. Otsuki's sector portfolio now spans five names, and clients laud her research as having "depth and breadth," as one portfolio manager says, "looking at the impact of regulatory changes and comparing all the different Asian financials companies." Japan's banking shares dipped 1.2 percent over the 12 months through mid-March, trailing the broad market by 12.9 percentage points, and the analyst is cautious in the interim. She cites "uncertainties in overseas economies as well as the domestic [consumption] tax rate hike" that took effect this month. For the medium to long term, however, she is bullish, in anticipation of a broad-based economic recovery and positive inputs from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's fiscal policies. Otsuki dubs Tokyo-based Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings and Mizuho Financial Group her top picks. She upgraded Sumitomo from neutral to buy in March 2013, at ¥427, when the diversified financial services provider announced it would repay the remaining ¥200 billion ($2.1 billion) it owed in government loans and begin buying back shares. The lender's stock subsequently seesawed, landing at ¥441 in mid-March. Mizuho she upgraded from neutral to buy in mid-February, at ¥220, crediting increasing loan volumes and earnings for the general bank and securities brokerage. Otsuki's "interesting seminars and presentations are certainly helpful to me," adds another backer. "Her extensive information network adds uniqueness to her analyses."

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