The 2014 All-Asia Research Team: South Korea, No. 1: Bryan Song & team
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The 2014 All-Asia Research Team: South Korea, No. 1: Bryan Song & team


Bryan Song

& team Bank of America

Merrill Lynch First-Place Appearances: 5

Total Appearances: 15

Team Debut: 1999 It’s four years in a row at No. 1 for the nine-member team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which earns its 15th appearance on this roster since debuting in 1999. Led by Bryan Song and based in Seoul, the researchers follow 90 South Korean stocks with “unmatched attention to both macro and micro trends,” in the words of one portfolio manager. For example, in September, citing such positive macroeconomic inputs as swelling exports, rebounding real gross domestic product growth and the appreciating currency, they reiterated their buy rating on semiconductor memory producer SK Hynix. A leading supplier to Chinese mobile-phone manufacturers, the Gyeonggi-based electronics-components maker boasted rising earnings, record free cash flow generation and sizable exposure to the rapidly expanding market for dynamic random-access memory, a key element in computers and game consoles. Through late April, SK Hynix’s shares had soared 43.2 percent, to 40,750 won, and eclipsed South Korea’s broad market by 39.9 percentage points. Looking ahead, Song, 44, and his colleagues recommend that investors favor Hana Financial Group, which is headquartered in Seoul. The nation’s third-largest financial services firm, by assets, is well positioned to benefit from both rising interest rates and the improving real estate market, they advise. At 49,000 won, the group’s price objective for Hana’s shares represents a 31.2 percent upside to their late April trading value. This year, Song also directs, with Yi (Winnie) Wu, the third-place crew in Banks.

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