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SJP shifts strategy on Japan fund

SJP shifts strategy on Japan fund

St James Place will alter its poorly-performing £121 AUM Japan fund with the addition of a second manager.

The change, effective from March 19, 2021, will see Comgest added to the fund, forming a multi-manager solution with the existing manager, Nippon Value Investors. 

The fund has been headed by Yoshihiko Ito since its launch in 2017. It aims to achieve long term growth through investments in Japanese listed companies, or businesses which are exposed economically to Japan.

Over the past three years the fund has lost 16.2 per cent - though over the past year it has returned 31 per cent.

Its benchmark, the TSE Topix index, returned 39.9 per cent over the past year, and 17.3 per cent over three years.

Comgest, a global investment management firm, was founded in 1985, and has a specialist approach to Japanese, European, emerging market, and global equities. 

Richard Kaye and Chantana Ward will be Comgest’s lead fund managers. The pair have more than 20 years’ experience of investing in Japan, 10 of which have been spent working together on Comgest’s Japan equity strategy.

Tom Beal, chief investment officer at SJP, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to help clients achieve financial wellbeing in a world worth living in, we are continually looking to provide clients with a broad range of funds and fund managers that encourage greater diversification and give access to a wide pool of investment talent. 

“The current manager of our Japan fund has a distinct value approach to investment management. Adding Comgest will allow stock selection to play a larger role in the pursuit of investment returns, by bringing a quality growth style to the fund and therefore increased diversification opportunities. 

“Our focus remains on designing innovative investment strategies that offer value to clients in meeting their long-term investment objectives.”

Ward, co-lead portfolio manager of the Japan equity strategy at Comgest, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with St James’s Place on their Japan fund. Comgest’s long-term investment strategy, focused on sustainable growth companies, makes Japan an exciting market for our team of stock pickers. 

“Our on-the ground team in Tokyo and ability to implement a long-term investment horizon create a real edge in this under-researched market. 

“The fund offers investors access to a concentrated selection of high-quality franchises, benefitting from exposure to both changing dynamics in Japan and dynamic growth in neighbouring Asia.”