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Macro Sectors: Accounting & Valuation

Sarah Deans of J.P. Morgan is back in the winner’s circle, and this year she has the sector all to herself.

Sarah Deans J.P. Morgan

Sarah Deans of J.P. Morgan is back in the winner’s circle, and this year she has the sector all to herself. The 37-year-old accountant, who works solo, is hailed by one port­folio man­ager for her ability to “explain important and complex accounting issues in an investor-­friendly manner.” Supporters single out a May report that described various banks’ accounting methods in detail, contrasting fair-­value estimates of assets and amortized costs across the industry. Though she ­doesn’t issue stock ratings, Deans’s analysis indicated that total assets of Germany’s Deutsche Postbank were actually €2,089 ($2,760) higher than reported, whereas Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s were €46,527 less. Through December the banks’ shares rose 38 percent and fell 23.6 percent, respectively. During the same period the sector climbed 24.5 percent. Deans garners further praise for July and November updates on Britain’s International Accounting Standards Board’s proposed regulatory changes regarding financial instruments. “She makes this area, which frankly is super dry and typically boring, relevant for equity investors who want to understand how ever-­changing accounting methods impact earnings per share,” observes one grateful client. Other boosters highlight her attention to ser­vice. “Where Sarah really excels is in her engagement with clients through one-on-one visits and conference calls after her meetings with regulators,” notes one appreciative fund ­manager.

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