BofA Merrill Top-Ranked Analyst Nakanishi Said to Leave Firm

Takaki Nakanishi, head of Asia-Pacific automotive research at Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch, is departing the firm, two people familiar with the matter said.

Nakanishi, 50, will be leaving this month, said the people, asking not to be identified because the departure hasn’t been disclosed externally. Kei Nihonyanagi, formerly at Barclays Plc, was hired in April to replace Nakanishi, the people said.

Nakanishi was the top-ranked auto analyst in Japan in a poll conducted earlier this year by Institutional Investor magazine and first in a ranking published this year by Japan’s Nikkei Veritas newspaper. His career at Merrill Lynch began in 1995, though he left in 2002 and took positions such as head of Japan research at JPMorgan Chase & Co., before returning to Merrill Lynch in 2011.

Most recently, Nakanishi covered Japanese auto-related companies ranging from Toyota Motor Corp. to Kariya City, Japan-based auto-parts maker Denso Corp.

Nihonyanagi spent eight years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. covering the machinery, consumer electronics and construction industries before joining Barclays in 2010.

Shares of Toyota have jumped 37 percent this year, outperforming the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average’s 24 percent gain. The Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker fell 2.8 percent to close at 5,480 yen today.

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