Stewart Investors  

Stewart Investors to reopen Indian equity fund

Stewart Investors to reopen Indian equity fund

Greater liquidity and a larger number of companies in which to invest is behind the decision of Stewart Investors to reopen its £262m Stewart Investors Indian Subcontinent fund.

The fund has returned 103 per cent over the past five years to 1 December.  

In comparison, the MSCI India index has returned 15 per cent in the same time period.

The fund was soft closed in 2012, when the firm imposed a 4 per cent initial charge to any new investors.

This charge has been removed from today (1 December).

This was done because the management felt if the fund grew too large it would dilute the quality of the companies held in it, because very large stakes would have to be taken in an a small number of businesses creating a risk that the whole fund would be reliant on a small number of companies.

Alternatively the managers said they would have had to invest in a wider range of companies, with the risk that some of those would be lower quality.

Revealing the reasons for the change, portfolio manager Sashi Reddy said: "Over 100 companies have listed on the Indian stock market since the soft-closing of the fund and the overall size of the market has doubled.

"As a result, our universe of quality companies has grown substantially. Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have also seen further listings, widening the range of investment opportunities in the subcontinent."

Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Group, said he is keen on the investment case for Indian shares as the country is enjoying structural growth.

One of his favourite funds is Stewart Investments Asia Pacific Leaders.

He said this fund has a larger exposure to Indian equities than the market as whole.

Simon Edelsten, who runs the £162m Mid Wynd investment trust, said India is a market that interests him as the reforms being implemented by the government "appear to be working."

david.thorpe@ft.com