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Industries - Banks - First Team

Hironari Nozaki Citi

The buy side says: “He just knows everything about the Japanese banks.”

For a ninth consecutive year, Hironari Nozaki of Citi captures the crown. The 48-year-old analyst “is always quick to return your e-mail or call and ready to guide you with a stockpile of deep analysis that puts Japanese banks in a global context for peer comparison,” explains one portfolio manager. Nozaki covers 15 institutions and is bullish on Japan’s banking sector as a whole, noting that the firms are highly liquid — a definite advantage over cash-­strapped banks in Europe and the U.S. In addition, “the regulatory tide is moving toward more sustainable funding with less focus on trading,” Nozaki observes. “My recommendation is to increase investment in those banks with high liquidity, adequate capitalization and wide access to global markets.” Two banks that fit these criteria are ­Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and ­Sumitomo ­Mitsui Banking Corp. The Tokyo-­based institutions “will enjoy growth opportunities in Asia and other overseas regions,” he says. — Leslie Kramer

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