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After two years on the second team, Colin Crook leads his two-member UBS crew back to the top spot.
Colin Crook & team UBS
second team Steven East Credit Suisse
third team Charles Armitage & team BofAMerrill Lynch
runner-up Benjamin Fidler & team Deutsche
After two years on the second team, Colin Crook leads his two-member UBS crew back to the top spot. Crook, 48, "is prepared to go against consensus," attests one supporter. The team stuck with an early but prescient February 2007 downgrade to sell on Rolls-Royce Group, the British aircraft-engine manufacturer, on declining demand. The stock, then at 525.00p, sank 36.1 percent in 2008, to end the year at 335.50p. During the same period the sector dropped 33.1 percent. Steven East slips one spot to second place. The Credit Suisse analyst, who now works solo, is hailed for his "consistency" by one money manager who cites Easts long-standing sell recommendation on Airbus manufacturer European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. First downgraded to sell all the way back in October 2006, largely on EADSs sizable cash outflows and production delays, the shares plummeted 44.4 percent last year. Repeating in third place is the Banc of America SecuritiesMerrill Lynch duo headed by Charles Armitage . In September the team downgraded British engine-parts maker GKN to underperform, at 223.50p, on its exposure to the deteriorating automotive sector. By mid-December the stock had plunged to 85.00p, a fall of 62.0 percent that underperformed the sectors loss by 42.8 percentage points, and the team upgraded it to neutral, as oversold. By year-end the shares had surged back to 97.00p. "They dont overegg the pudding by trying to be too smart, something that many analysts do," notes one advocate.
Building & Construction
Arnaud Pinatel & team Exane BNP Paribas
second team Mark Stockdale & team UBS
third team Harry Goad, Arnaud Lehmann Credit Suisse
runners-up Clyde Lewis & team Citi; Michael Betts J.P. Morgan
Arnaud Pinatel and his two-member team at Exane BNP Paribas vault from third place to first. The analysts are adept at "marrying the big picture with company specifics," according to one portfolio manager. Case in point: an August 2007 downgrade from neutral to underweight on building-materials manufacturer Wolseley, on slowing residential construction. Shares of the Reading, Englandbased company tumbled 62.2 percent through December 2008, trailing the sector by 8.2 percentage points. In October the team upgraded French cement producer Sa des Ciments Vicat from neutral to outperform, on valuation. The stock had surged 49.5 percent by December 31, beating the sector by a whopping 26.7 percentage points. Pinatel, 43, graduated in 1990 from Frances Institut dAdministration des Entreprises, the graduate business school of the University of Paris, with a diplôme détudes supérieures spécialisées . He worked at Oddo Equities as a construction analyst before joining BNP Paribas in 2001. After five straight years at No. 1, the UBS team captained by Mark Stockdale slips to second but continues to win praise for what one buy-sider describes as "timely calls on what to avoid." In January 2008 the quintet urged investors to steer clear of Austrias Wienerberger, citing declining housing starts. Shares of the brick producer had crumbled 62.4 percent by year-end. In third place is the two-man Credit Suisse team of newcomers Harry Goad and Arnaud Lehmann . In January 2008 the analysts downgraded French cement producer Lafarge to underperform, on valuation. Through December the stock plummeted 61.4 percent, lagging the sector by 23.6 percentage points. "Their views have turned out to be right," notes one fund manager.
Business & Employment Services
Jaime Brandwood, Mark Shepperd & team UBS
second team Marc Vant Sant & team Citi Citi
third team Andrew Ripper & team BofAMerrill Lynch
runner-up Andrew Chu, Thomas Sykes & team Deutsche
The four-strong UBS squad, enjoying a fifth consecutive appearance in the winners circle, is "one of the few teams that will come meet you in your office," says one appreciative investor. Co-led by Mark Shepperd , 52, and Jaime Brandwood , 32, the team upgraded Britains Capita Group to buy in November 2007, at 662.50p, and has highlighted the call repeatedly since, citing strong sales growth. Shares of the outsourcing-services provider rose to 738.00p through December 2008, a gain of 11.4 percent that handily outpaced the sectors loss by 27.0 percentage points. Clients say the Citi trio led by Marc Vant Sant , which jumps from runner-up to second place, offers "crystal-clear reporting" and "deep industry knowledge." Rising unemployment prompted the team to downgrade Switzerlands Adecco, the worlds biggest staffing agency, to sell in October 2007, at Sf70.80. By year-end 2008, Adeccos share price had slid 49.5 percent, to Sf35.78. Repeating in third place is the three-member Banc of America SecuritiesMerrill Lynch group led by Andrew Ripper . The team broke with the consensus in January 2008 by telling investors to buy Irelands Experian, at 363.75p, on the belief that the credit-reporting agency would enjoy robust growth. By December 31, Experians share price had risen 18.8 percent, to 432.00p.
Andreas Willi & team J.P. Morgan
second team Mark Troman & team BofAMerrill Lynch
third team Carl Frederic Stahl & team UBS
runner-up Colin Grant, James Stettler & team Dresdner Kleinwort
Leaping from runner-up to claim top honors for the first time is the J.P. Morgan Securities duo led by Andreas Willi , described by one portfolio manager as "the most thorough analyst in the City the research he produces is always worth reading." In December 2007 the team downgraded ABB to neutral from overweight, mostly on valuation, which proved wise: Shares of the Swiss robotics provider had dropped 52.6 percent by the end of 2008, trailing the sector by 4.6 percentage points. Willi, 37, earned a masters degree in finance from the University of Zurich in 1997 and joined J.P. Morgan the following year. The Banc of America SecuritiesMerrill Lynch quartet conducted by Mark Troman slips to second place. The team impressed clients with a May downgrade of Britains Bodycote International to sell from neutral, on concern that the metallurgical-coating providers announced disposal of its materials-testing division was ill-timed, given depressed market values. The stock, then at 417.57p, had plunged to 212.45p by October, and the analysts prematurely raised it to neutral, on valuation. The shares were trading at a split-adjusted 123.00p at year-end. Investors say the "smart but never arrogant" Troman leaves "no question unanswered." Newcomer Carl Frederic Stahl steers the seven-member UBS team, unranked last year, to third place. The analysts wowed investors with a pair of January downgrades, lowering Swedish truck makers Volvo from buy to neutral and Scania from buy to sell, after a proprietary survey showed that both had exaggerated their order backlogs. By December 31 the stocks had skidded 53.4 and 49.0 percent, respectively. Stahl "was the first to talk about the double-bookings, which the managements later conceded," asserts one backer.
Timothy Marshall & team UBS
second team Menno Sanderse & team Morgan Stanley
third team Mark McVicar & team Dresdner Kleinwort
runners-up Roger Elliott, Andrew Light & team Citi; Damian Brewer & team J.P. Morgan
Timothy Marshall , 31, leads the UBS quartet to a second straight appearance at No. 1. The analysts win high marks for their downgrade of Britains EasyJet from neutral to sell in September, dubbing the stock fully valued at 375.50p. By the end of December, the discount air carriers shares had skidded 25.4 percent, to 280.25p. The UBS team produces "well-founded, thought-provoking research that gets to the root of the issue," observes one portfolio manager. Holding steady in second place is the Morgan Stanley duo directed by Menno Sanderse . Applauded for "collating data without information overload," as one fan puts it, the analysts are also praised for their February downgrade of British public transportation provider Arriva to neutral, at 739.00p, largely on a slowdown in rail passenger traffic. By year-end the shares had careered to 601.50p, an 18.6 percent plunge that nonetheless outperformed the sectors loss by 22.9 percentage points. "They are willing to express viewpoints that are different from the crowds," says one satisfied buy-sider. After spending last year in the runner-up position, the four-strong Dresdner Kleinwort squad captained by Mark McVicar reclaims third place. The team upgraded British Airways from hold to buy in October, at 125.00p, on valuation. The stock had soared 43.8 percent by the end of the year, to 179.70p.
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