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Analyst of the year
With volatility and uncertainty stalking a range of sectors, this is a tricky time to be an analyst in the Square Mile. This year’s batch of nominees have negotiated everything from political uncertainty to the arrival of controversial Mifid II regulations to make a series of gutsy and valuable calls – proving why clients will keep relying on their expertise.
Former UBS, RBS and Merrill Lynch analyst Ian Whittaker has headed up Liberum’s media team for over a decade and become one of the City’s leading commentators on the ever-changing sector. Never afraid to stick his neck out, Whittaker has been rewarded for his bullish position on under-pressure stocks such as Just Eat and ITV; since backing the former at the end of last year, its shares have climbed 20 per cent, while ITV’s recent recovery has justified Whittaker’s insistence in July that the share price correction had been too drastic.
Founder of the eponymous west end firm Enders Analysis, Claire Enders is a titan of the sector and increasingly prolific as a talking head on all things relating to the UK’s creative, media and technology sectors. In 2019 she has become a vocal critic of the BBC and ITV’s streaming venture Britbox, dismissing the idea that it can take on the deep pockets of rivals such as Netflix, while slamming the controversial move to scrap free TV licences for the over-75s. Enders has even delved into the world of football, advising Premier League clubs to rein in their mammoth wage bills as she expects TV rights deals to drop following years of eye-watering inflation.
CMC Markets’ Michael Hewson is an energetic commentator across a range of sectors, having become one of the most familiar faces on business news channels. This year his scepticism on major tech IPOs such as Uber and Lyft has been especially notable given the inflated valuations placed on loss-making tech firms. The poor performance of both companies since their IPOs have proved him right. Hewson also made a big call at the beginning of the year, correctly predicting a Fed rate cut at a time when a rate rise was widely expected. On a practical note, he’s easy to get hold of and always willing to give candid comments.
Former Citi analyst Richard Lim has headed up Hoxton consultancy Retail Economics since 2016, providing cutting insight into one of the UK’s most fast-changing industries. He has become widely-regarded for his near-daily commentary on retail’s seismic shifts as some of the country’s biggest high street names battle for survival. Lim has been ahead of the game for several years, spotting intensifying pressures on retail landlords long before share prices started to plummet. At the end of last year he produced a report with RBS setting out the challenges facing the retail sector for 2019, which have come to the surface in recent months with the likes of Debenhams and Arcadia.
Turnaround guru Julie Palmer is in increasing demand given the pressures on numerous companies and sectors. The Begbies Traynor partner started the year tracking developments at Patisserie Valerie following its huge accounting scandal, has commented extensively on problems with once-great companies such as Thomas Cook, and has become a go-to analyst for retail sector woes, charting the sharp decline of many bricks and mortar stores. Palmer has also highlighted the growing levels of distress among UK companies as Brexit stalemate weighs on the economy.
- 2018: Sarah Simon, Berenberg
- 2017: Anthony Codling, Jefferies
- 2016: Yael Selfin, KPMG
- 2015: Bruno Monteyne, Bernstein
- 2014: Ian Whittaker, Liberum
- 2013: Simon Ward, Henderson
- 2012: Clive Black, Shore Capital
- 2011: Jeff Currie, Goldman Sachs
- 2010: Andrew Wood, Sanford Bernstein
This category has been a permanent fixture since the City A.M. Awards started back in 2010.