Boston-based global equities manager Massachussetts Financial Services (MFS) will welcome the head of Merrill Lynch’s equity sales desk as its first Australian-based stockpicker this month.

Simon Gresham, a nine-year veteran of Merrill Lynch, will sit in the Sydney office of MFS’s Australian distributor, BNP Paribas Investment Partners. He will work closely with London-based Matthew Williams and Singapore-based Daniel Ling, the two of MFS’s 44 other analysts who cover the most Australian stocks. Gresham has a special affinity with pulp and paper stocks, having in the late 1980s been an adviser to the New Zealand Government on the privatisation of forestry industries. During six years as an analyst at Merrill Lynch, pulp and paper was one sector Gresham covered as well as stints with transport, building materials and commercial services. However MFS institutional portfolio manager, Ben Kottler, said it was the manager’s practice to assign new analysts sectors they were unfamiliar with, and Gresham envisioned he would probably be covering some Australian mid-caps not already well-known to MFS. Kottler was in Australia last week launching MFS’s Global Concentrated Equity fund, a 25-30 stock ‘best ideas’ portfolio based on the ‘sustainable growth-at-a-reasonable-price’ methodology of the flagship Global Equity fund.

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