Managers - who to watch in 2011
Meera Patel, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown
"Alister Hibbert who runs the BlackRock Dynamic fund is one to watch. His career did not get off to the best start when he was handed the reins of the Invesco Perpetual European Growth fund in 2001 which suffered enormously in the TMT crash, through no fault of his own.
He had to manage a failing fund suffering huge redemptions and that alone gave him a good deal of experience. I feel he has finally found his feet and has overhauled the BlackRock Europan Dynamic fund with great success. Our analysis shows that, since 2008, his stockpicking has been remarkable.
Another manager to consider is Philip Rodrigs, who managed the Investec Smaller Companies fund. We have conducted some stock selection analysis on this and he is now ranking up there with the likes of the Old Mutual small cap team, Harry Nimmo at Standard Life and Giles Hargreave at Marlborough, who we believe are the crème de la crème of smaller companies.
Mr Rodrigs is a true small-cap manager, unlike some of his peers who are heavily mid cap biased, and I believe he is someone to look out for next year. I expect his success to go hand in hand with growing assets in his fund, and if he continues delivering exceptional returns through his stock picking, he will make a lot of money for his investors."
Ben Seager-Scott, senior analyst at Whitechurch Securities
"I would also highlight Philip Rodrigs as one to watch. He has been running this impressive smaller companies fund since 2006, which has an enviable performance record, having outperformed the sector and the FTSE Small Cap benchmark every year for the past decade and posting top-quartile performance over one, three, five and 10 years.
The fund makes extensive use of Investec's 4Factor process, a quantitative screening system that aims to minimise bias due to human behaviour – though Philip determines the final portfolio, and when you speak to him, it's clear that he really does know his stuff. Our contrarian view is bullish on UK smaller companies in 2011 and this fund is a great way to get exposure in this area.
Combining both manager and fund, Tim Rees at Insight Investments and his UK Equity Income Booster fund is one to keep an eye on in 2011. Although he is reasonably well-known as an equity income manager, this fund makes use of a covered call overlay which acts as an enhanced-income mechanism.
Mr Rees' skills have been well established through Insight's other equity income funds, and the outlook for this area looks well-supported as investors are forced to hunt for income outside of the traditional areas of cash and bonds.
The fund was only launched in March last year, but has already proven to be a serious contender. The fund is currently pretty small but is growing and, now that there is demonstrable performance history and attractive, smoothed income returns, I expect there to be a lot more interest here in 2011.