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Industries: Insurance - First

Karen Chan  BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research

The buy side says: “Karen Chan understands the Chinese insurance sector very well.”

Making an audacious debut at No. 1 in the Insurance sector, which was created when we split Financials into Banks and Insurance, is Karen Chan of BofA ­Merrill Lynch Global Research. Clients describe the 36-year-old researcher as “insightful,” “very knowledgeable” and as someone who “always provides good analysis.” In April 2010, Chan astutely upgraded Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China from underperform to buy, at HK$66.76, on valuation and profit momentum, among other factors. Shares of the financial services firm, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, Gaungdong, zipped to HK$84.95 by the end of April 2011, a 27.2 percent advance that bested the sector by 35.1 percentage points. In August the analyst downgraded China Life ­Insurance Co. from buy to neutral, at HK$32.80, on the Beijing-­based diversified insurance carrier’s slumping growth and recent overspending. The stock tumbled 15.9 percent, to HK$27.60, through April. Chan earned a master’s degree in Asian studies at the University of ­Pennsylvania in 1997 and worked as an insurance analyst at Nomura before moving to Merrill Lynch in 2007.

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