Does Merrill Lynch think Taiwan is the best training ground for a regional strategist? It would appear so, with its decision to move its Taiwan research head to Hong Kong to be head of regional strategy.
White will replace Dio Wong, who left in December, and will relocate from Taipei, where he has been based since 1999.
Actually, White's experience has been broader than Taiwan. Before joining Merrill in 1999 he was a fund manager for first Hambros Bank and then AIB Govett asset management. His bias there was for North Asia, as well as Indonesia.
What does he think of opportunities in Indonesia now? Well, he put out his first strategy report on Friday and he recommends five themes, one of which is a return to Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines (the so-called TIP). He says thanks to compelling valuations and falling risk aversion he is recommending Indonesian cigaratte company, Sampoerna, as well as Siam Cement, Thai Farmers Bank, BPI and Globe Telecom. He believes the pace of the global recovery is uncertain, but nevertheless like Cathay Pacific (must be the new business class) as well as Li & Fung and China Merchants. He also believes in the decoupling of the Dow from Asia (at long last) as he sees compelling valuations set in in this part of the world. As such, he likes Hyundai Motor, Yageo and Ranbaxy Labs.