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Financials help Aberdeen Asian Smaller Companies outperform

Financials help Aberdeen Asian Smaller Companies outperform

Financial services companies drove the returns of the Aberdeen Asian Smaller Companies trust in the year to 31 July.

Data from Financial Express shows the trust returned 25 per cent in the year to that date, compared with 15 per cent for the average trust in the sector in the same time period.

The fund managers said a key driver of performance during the period was investments in financial companies.

They said bank holdings in India and Thailand benefited from higher interest rates globally, allowing them to charge higher interest on the loans they issue.

But they added that performance was hampered by the fund’s lack of exposure to the technology sector, particularly in Taiwan which, like technology shares around the world, performed well during the year.

Software and services is the second largest sector in terms of the trust's exposure, at 19.1 per cent, with the manufacturing sector top at 24 per cent.

During the year the trust bought into four new holdings: Taiwanese power-tools maker Basso, Korean contact-lens maker Interojo, Pakistani cement company Maple Leaf and Thailand's Mega Life Sciences.

The trust, which has 76 holdings, has its largest exposure in Hong Kong, with 17.8 per cent of its assets invested there.

Its largest single holding is Indonesia's Bank OCBC at 3.3 per cent of the trust.

William Lam, who runs the £1.5bn Invesco Perpetual Asia fund, said the technology sector has been the main driver of returns in Asian equity markets for the past decade, and were it not for that sector, the market would be showing a loss right now.

He agreed that such a “narrow” focus on one particular sector is not a welcome sign for investors, but he said he doesn’t feel there is a “bubble” in the tech sector, and therefore it is not a significant concern.

david.thorpe@ft.com

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