With the Investment Adviser 100 Club now in its sixth year, we ask a selection of multi-managers and fund selectors for their five favourite 100 Club members of 2017
Duncan Blyth, investment research director, Tcam
■ Schroder Asia Pacific
This fund was launched in 1995 and manager Matthew Dobbs has been at Schroders for more than 35 years. Mr Dobbs is based in London but has access to Schroders’ team of analysts and specialists based in the Asia-Pacific region. The vehicle’s long-term track record speaks for itself and the breadth and depth of Schroders’ resources in the region provides comfort that this will continue for years to come.
■ Neptune European Opportunities
Rob Burnett has managed this fund since 2005, having been with Neptune since 2002. He was too early into value stocks, which hit performance from 2014, but the portfolio has recovered following the sector rotation from quality growth to value mid-way in 2016. It continues to be positioned for a European value recovery, which looks compelling from an asset-allocation perspective. Mr Burnett was supported through a difficult period and stuck to his philosophy; factors that are encouraging in a market focused on short-term performance.
■ Man GLG Japan Core Alpha
This strategy is managed by a very experienced team, headed by Stephen Harker. The fund is well positioned for a reversal in the performance of large-cap value stocks, following a prolonged period of outperformance for small- and mid-cap growth names. The hedged share class allows returns to be driven by stock selection and avoids investors being penalised by the effects of a weakening yen.
■ JPM Global Financials
Managed by James Cook and Simon Poncet, this fund invests in global financial services companies. The managers are able to tap into a large and experienced team of almost 20 financials analysts. The portfolio appears well positioned against a backdrop of normalising monetary policy, dissipating regulatory risks, improving capital, and cash being returned to shareholders. Valuations also look significantly more attractive than other sectors of the market.
■ Old Mutual UK Smaller Companies
Manager Daniel Nickols has been running this strategy since 2004, and is also head of the firm’s UK small-cap division. The team has a demonstrable track record of outperforming its peers, and given its long-term presence in the sector, it has unrivalled access to company management. Merger and acquisition activity and the initial public offering market – where scale is an advantage – have historically been good sources of alpha for the team.
Ryan Hughes, head of fund selection, AJ Bell Investments
■ Invesco Perpetual Asian
The pragmatic approach taken by the investment team has delivered remarkably consistent performance over a long period of time. Using a combination of top-down macro and bottom-up stock analysis, the key to the process has been an ability to be flexible and adapt to the changing environment across the Asian region, meaning there is no particular style bias in the approach. This flexibility can see the fund vary its positioning by more than other vehicles at both a country level and a stock and sector level.