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Health Care: Health Care Technology & Distribution

He has been ranked in this sector every year since 2001, but this is the first time Robert ­Willoughby finishes on top.

Robert Willoughby

Robert Willoughby BofA Merrill Lynch

second teamLisa Gill J.P. Morgan

third teamLawrence Marsh Barclays

He has been ranked in this sector every year since 2001, but this is the first time Robert ­Willoughby finishes on top. The BofA Merrill analyst, who leaps from third place all the way to No. 1,­ “has been batting a million,” says one ­money man­ager, and another praises Willoughby’s “great timing, great insights and great calls.” Case in point: He put a buy on Express Scripts in January, at $57.33, telling clients the St. ­Louis–based pharmacy benefits manager was well positioned for strong growth. The stock had bolted to $72.22 by late August, a gain of 26 percent that far outdistanced the sector’s 18.7 percent loss. Willoughby, 43, earned his MBA from the University of Michigan in 1994 and worked as a health care analyst at Dillon, Read & Co. and ­Credit ­Suisse before moving to BofA in 2003.

A well-­timed call on Express Scripts also helps J.P. Morgan’s Lisa Gill repeat in second place. Gill told investors in January that the Missouri com­pany was a natural choice to acquire Indianapolis-­based WellPoint’s in-house PBM, NextRx. In April, Express Scripts announced plans to acquire ­NextRx for $4.7 billion; the deal is expected to close later this year. Gill is “the queen of estimating and valuing prescription volumes,” cheers one buy-side fan.

Although he drops to third place after five years at No. 1, Lawrence Marsh of Barclays Capital retains a faithful following as “the god of profit models,” in the words of one client. Marsh upgraded San Francisco’s McKesson Corp. to buy in October 2008, at $45.08, on valuation. The shares had zipped 26.1 percent, to $56.86, by the end of ­August.

Click here to see the All-America Research Teamrankings.

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