Given the complexities of the Asian credit markets, it is not surprising that longevity is one of the prime qualities of the region’s top analysts. Put simply: experience pays. Manjesh Verma, global head of credit sector specialists, EM trading, at Citi, explains that in addition to the basics of sound fundamental analysis, as well as good written and oral communication skills, credit analysts must have the ability to multi-task and focus on many names at the same time. Crucially, they should also be commercially oriented and be able to look beyond the obvious. “This is the key challenge for a lot of analysts. Asia is a complicated, multi-jurisdictional market and reading the macro factors as well as reading the tea leaves from available information is crucial,” he says.
Stella Li (left) has held the top position since 2017 while Soo Chong Lim (right) has been ranked in the top 10 for the past 12 years.
Analysts with these qualities tend to be nominated year in, year out by investors. Two-thirds of the top 10 analysts and half of the highly commended have been ranked for the past three years. And some for longer than that.
Take Stella Li, whose performance has been what must be described as stellar. Li, who specializes in Greater China credit with a focus on high yield, property and industrials, was first ranked in 2013 when she was with Morgan Stanley and subsequently after her move to Citi, she shot up to the top position in 2017 and has remained there since.
But the top prize for longevity in credit research goes to Keith Chan (HSBC), who has been in the top 10 for 13 years. Not far behind, Soo Chong Lim, who has been leading the J.P. Morgan credit research team since 2008, has been in the top 10 for 12 years. Citi’s Verma is also a veteran with six years in the top 10, while it has been four years for Nicholas Yap (Nomura).
Viewed overall, Nomura has the largest number of ranked analysts – three in the top 10 and two highly commended. HSBC and Bank of America both have four ranked analysts while BNP Paribas, J.P. Morgan, Citi and CMB International each have three. Not surprisingly, six of the top 10 analysts are Greater China specialists.
This year, investors nominated a total of 104 analysts, 8% more than in 2020.
For the complete list of The Best Individuals in Asian G3 bonds for 2021 (analysts) please click here.