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Top turnarounds? Five funds on the rebound

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Written by:
01/03/2013
Find out which investment funds have seen a recent rebound in performance.

A number of well known managers have seen their funds fall back compared to peers in recent years, with early exposure to cyclicals, or the wrong call on risk, contributing to a tough time for their returns.

However, some high profile names are now bouncing back. Here research firm Rayner Spencer Mills’ duo Ken Rayner and Graham O’Neill explain why the five portfolios below – which have recently begun to climb back up the performance tables – now merit a second look.

1. Cazenove European, managed by Chris Rice

“Chris Rice takes a pragmatic approach to the index – his peers have ended up in high growth stocks, but he does not want to own just one particular segment of the market. At one point he was losing assets because of it – 2012 was the only time in his 10-year career that his fund saw net outflows.

“He has had a performance come-back this year and last year however, and we use this as a core fund in our portfolios.”

The £935m fund is in the bottom quartile of the IMA Europe ex UK sector over the three years to 15 February with a return of 21.6% against a sector average of 29.8%, but over one year it has returned 20% against an average 19.4%, ranking it 43 out of 104 funds in the peer group, according to Morningstar.

2. Templeton China, managed by Allan Lam

“This fund was too exposed to cyclicals last year, but we would expect it to do better this year. The managers are confident growth will be at 7%-8% in China.

“The fund has a strong team of Chinese investment professionals, and a long track record. The 12-month numbers are still not good but will improve as the year goes on. The fund has been consolidated and brought down to the best ideas.

“Looking at the track record, the team’s macro view coincides with ours and we are happy with the changes the manager has made.”

The £1.7bn fund ranks 33 out of 34 funds in the IMA China / Greater China sector with a return of 2.3% over one year, compared to an average 9.6%. Over three years it has performed better, returning 19.6% against an average 17.6%.

3. Cazenove UK Growth & Income, managed by David Docherty

“This is a fund which has seen its one-year numbers improve. David Docherty bought risk too early in 2011 after the Japanese earthquake and the eurozone crisis came along.

“He bought into cyclical stocks including UK banks and mining stocks which hit performance. He caught the market bounce last year when these stocks recovered, but up to then it was an uncomfortable time for him.”

The £330m fund ranks 190 out of 241 funds in the UK All Companies sector over three years with a return of 33.9%. Over one year it is creeping up the rankings, returning 13.4% against an average 14.9%, placing it 149th in the peer group.

4. Schroder UK Mid 250, managed by Andy Brough

“Andy Brough’s investment approach is more invigorated now after a period in which he struggled and lost his focus.

“He is now building that franchise back up again, while small and mid caps have come back into favour.”

The £1.3bn portfolio ranks 82 out of 241 funds in the UK All Companies sector over five years, although it is first quartile over three years. Over one year it has moved into the top decile with a return of 30% against the sector average of 14.9%.

5. Fidelity Special Situations, managed by Sanjeev Shah

“It was hard for Shah to take on a top performing fund which had been run by Anthony Bolton, and he did lose assets. However, Shah’s scenario of one and a half years ago – when he bought out of favour banks and other cyclicals – has played out.

“We think his style is more deep value than Bolton’s was. When he was underperforming it was because this style was out of favour. What we do not like to see when this happens is a manager panicking and increasing turnover, and Shah held his nerve.”

Shah’s £2.5bn fund underperformed the sector average over three years with a return of 40.6%, placing it 113 out of 241 funds in the peer group. Over one year performance has rebounded to take the fund into the top decile, returning 27.2% against an average 14.9%.

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