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Experienced Investor

Three up-and-coming funds to watch this year

Lucinda Beeman
Written By:
Lucinda Beeman

Picking the right investment fund can be a challenge, which is why many people opt for products with a solid history of outperformance.

However, as any piece of marketing material will state, past performance is no indication of future returns.

Multi-manager Gary Potter of F&C Asset Management says individuals who tend to invest for the present rather than the future could be missing out on future success stories.

“Most people’s investment habits are rear-view mirror decisions. If you don’t embrace change you will get average results,” he says.

While investing in funds with a limited track record can be risky – after all, less performance data makes it more difficult to gauge how a fund will perform in the long term – lesser known funds also present unique opportunities.

Here, Potter offers his pick of three up-and-coming funds:

TwentyFour Income – launch date: March 2013

According to Potter, investors looking for income should pay close attention to the TwentyFour Income fund. Listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, it is a closed-ended fund meaning there are a fixed number of shares available targeting less liquid, higher yielding asset-backed securities.

For example, the fund has major holdings in residential mortgage-backed securities all over Europe, with large concentrations in the UK and the Netherlands. It also holds collateralised loan obligations, where multiple business loans are pooled together and sold as a bond.

Managed by Rob Ford and his team, it aims for a dividend of at least 6 per cent per year and a net total return of 7 to 10 per cent a year. Since it deals in other people’s debts, returns are expected to increase as interest rates rise.

The fund is up 28 per cent since its launch in March 2013, compared with the average sector return of 8 per cent as of 28 May, according to Morningstar data.

GCP Infrastructure Investments – launch date: July 2010

GCP’s Infrastructure fund invests in infrastructure bonds, providing investors looking for income with “a lower-risk solution”, according to Potter.

It does this by investing in infrastructure projects with pre-determined, very long term, public sector-backed revenue with no construction, demand or property risk.

Alongside other holdings the fund invests in solar farms, wind farms, and public finance initiatives (PFIs) where the private sector is paid by the Government to build, manage and maintain public buildings like hospitals, schools and police stations.

The fund has returned 46 per cent since its launch in July 2010, versus a sector average of 23 per cent.

Potter said: “It’s a guaranteed, dependable income for a long time. I like stuff that’s quite simple.”

BlackRock Asian Growth Leaders – launch date: November 2012

Potter met with this fund’s manager, Andrew Swan, in October 2012 and was impressed enough to invest despite the fact that BlackRock had no previous record in Asia.

Potter said: “You will find that the bigger funds in this sector sit just below the average. Andrew Swan and his team have outperformed.”

According to Morningstar, the fund has delivered 29 per cent since November 2012, compared with 9 per cent for the benchmark.

The fund seeks to maximise total returns by investing the vast majority – at least 70 per cent – of its total assets in Asian equities (excluding Japan). It places particular emphasis on sectors and companies with above average growth rates in earnings or sales or high or improving returns on capital, all of which are indications of growth.

Some of the fund’s largest holdings include Kia Motors and China Life Insurance.

Potter said: “You better watch out for BlackRock, because they’re coming in Asia.”