Investment Grade – Basic Materials(IG): First
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Investment Grade – Basic Materials(IG): First


Darren Hook & team


“They link their bottom-up analysis with the macro environment — something unusual for credit analysts.”

Debuting at the pinnacle is Barclays’s London-based duo under Darren Hook, 41; he also co-heads (with Christophe Boulanger) the top-ranked team in Investment-Grade Manufacturing/General Industrials. “They are not afraid to express an independent view,” affirms one asset manager in the U.K. Case in point: In July the team told clients to underweight Luxembourg-based steel giant ArcelorMittal, particularly its 2017 and 2018 euro-denominated notes, citing overcapacity in the industry, the company’s overleveraged balance sheet and a likely downgrade from the credit ratings agencies. Sure enough, the following month Standard & Poor’s lowered ArcelorMittal’s bonds to junk status; Moody’s Investors Service followed suit in November. From the July warning through November’s reduction in credit status, the bonds delivered excess returns of –57 basis points; during the same period the Pan-European Credit Index delivered excess returns of 367 basis points. “Their detailed, frequent research focuses on aspects that few other analysts even seem to notice,” hails one portfolio manager in London. Hook joined Barclays in 1998 after earning a doctorate in clinical medicine at England’s University of Oxford. — Ben Mattlin

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