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Financial Institutions: Banks/Midcap 2010

After two years at No. 2, Kevin St. Pierre rises to the top.

Kevin St. PierreKevin St. Pierre

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

The buy side says: “Kevin provides valuable insights with a focus on valuation.”

After two years at No. 2, Kevin St. Pierre rises to the top. “He knows the banks he follows incredibly well,” cheers one buy-side champion. In September 2009 the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst issued valuation-­based upgrades from neutral to outperform on Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Alabama, and Milwaukee’s Marshall & Ilsley Corp., at $6.10 and $8.05, respectively. In April, after the stocks had soared to $8.79 and $9.91 — gaining 44.1 and 23.1 percent at a time when the sector climbed 33.8 percent — he dubbed the shares fully valued and downgraded them to hold. By the end of August, they had slid to $6.43 and $6.55. “He provides the most in-depth fundamental insight into longer-­term economics in the bank sector — beyond the ‘quarterly noise’ that many other analysts overly focus on — and provides more-­quantified and longer-­term analysis,” avers one buy-side supporter. St. Pierre, 43, earned an MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1997 and worked at Booz Allen Hamilton before joining Bernstein in 2000.

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