25-10-2022 The vote is in: Institutional Investor reveals shipping’s top equity analyst, By Joe Brady, TradeWinds
It was a case of maintaining the status quo in the ranking of top shipping analysts as determined by voting in Institutional Investor magazine’s annual survey. And once again it was low-profile researcher Kenneth Hoexter of Bank of America walking away as the top shipping analyst, retaining the crown he first wore in 2021. The top three analysts stayed the same, with Amit Mehrotra of Deutsche Bank and Evercore ISI veteran Jonathan Chappell repeating their places from 2021. Citi’s Christian Wetherbee was the only other shipping analyst ranked this year, finishing fourth. Wetherbee took the place of former Jefferies analyst Randy Giveans, who left the investment bank in April to head investors relations at Navigator Holdings.
As TradeWinds has reported, Giveans’ move set in motion an analyst shuffle that saw veteran Clarksons Securities researcher Omar Nokta bolt to Jefferies. Clarksons filled the post internally with the shift of renewables and offshore specialist Turner Holm. Meanwhile former Giveans lieutenant Chris Robertson was poached by Mehrotra and Deutsche Bank to help expand shipping coverage there. All the movement may have contributed to fewer shipping analysts being ranked, as there have been eight or more making the list in past years. The rankings are understood to feature a top three and then anyone who finishes within 65% of the market share of the third-ranked analyst, Chappell in this case. Wetherbee was the lone analyst to meet those criteria.
Hoexter acknowledged the honor in an e-mail message to TradeWinds on Tuesday. “We aim to help investors navigate the shipping sector in rapidly changing markets, particularly important as 2021-22 was one of the most volatile years in history,” Hoexter said. He noted that liner rates hit all-time highs and then retrenched to pre-Covid lows, while clean-product and crude rates spiked after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Positive feedback from clients via the Institutional Investor survey is invaluable to confirm that our contributions is additive to their work,” Hoexter said. The analyst’s top calls included a 3 March upgrade of Scorpio Tankers ahead of a surge in clean rates and a 5 February downgrade of Seaspan parent Atlas before container rates plummeted.
Hoexter has long been more than just a shipping analyst. He was hired by Bank of America in January 2002 as senior airfreight, surface transportation and shipping analyst, with much of his research coming in those other transport sectors. Institutional Investor has ranked him an “All-Star Analyst” some 20 times, with the lion’s share of those rankings coming in the “transportation” category. Hoexter’s broader coverage is no longer so rare, as former shipping purists like Chappell and Mehrotra also have broken off into other sectors like trucking and rail.
The shipping award was first severed from the general transportation category in 2015, and it started a reign of five straight years at the top for Michael Webber, who was then working for Wells Fargo Securities. Institutional Investor conducts separate voting in the category of “air-freight and surface transportation”, and there are some familiar shipping names on that list as well. Hoexter finished second, Wetherbee third and Mehrotra fourth. The category was won by Wolfe Research.