|Praveen Choudhary, Simon Lee & team|
|First-Place Appearances: 1|
Total Appearances: 13
Team Debut: 1997
Morgan Stanley debuted on this roster as a runner-up in 1997 and had not risen above third place — until this year. The firm’s 50-person, Hong Kong–based group co-captained by Praveen Choudhary and newcomer Simon Lee vaults from runner-up all the way to the top. And no wonder. The researchers “are one of the hardest-working and most accessible teams on the Street,” proclaims one asset manager. Adds another client: “They are proactive and in-depth, which adds a lot of value.” In March 2013 the crew advised investors that Macau-based luxury hotel resort and casino operator MGM China Holdings was delivering strong earnings increases and higher dividend payouts. In addition, management was focused on attracting high-spending customers, all of which merited an upgrade of the stock from equal weight to overweight, the analysts believed. MGM China’s shares subsequently bolted 76.7 percent, through late April, climbing to HK$29.10 and far outdistancing the Hong Kong broad market’s 4.7 percent gain. Going forward, they are sticking with their long-standing overweight on AIA Group, thanks to the financial services provider’s robust growth momentum, solid balance sheet and exposure to a variety of life insurance markets across Asia. Over the 12 months through late April, the stock climbed 14 percent, to HK$37.85, against the 2.2 percent gain by Hong Kong’s broad market. Morgan Stanley’s price target is HK$45. Choudhary, who also leads a runner-up team in Gaming & Lodging this year, joined the firm in 2002 from Deutsche Bank, where he specialized in M&As. He earned a B.S. in electronics engineering from India’s Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, in 2001. Lee jumped to Morgan Stanley from a similar position at Deutsche Bank in 2003, armed with a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Queen’s University at Kingston in Canada. This year he also directs the second-place team in Power.