12 fund managers to watch this month

We shine a spotlight on managers across the investment universe entering or moving up the Citywire ratings over September 2018.

Vantil Charles: + rated

Sector: Bonds - Euro Corporates

Fund: Capital Group Euro Corporate Bond

Vantil Charles has worked at Capital Group for 12 years. Together with + rated co-manager Thomas Høgh, he runs the Capital Group Euro Corporate Bond fund. This fund, launched in September 2010, invests mainly in eurodenominated corporate investment grade bonds and other fixed income securities. So it is no surprise to find Germany, France, Spain and Italy well represented in the portfolio. However, its biggest country weighting is the US, at 18% of the fund, and its biggest holding, at 3.2%, is Australian company BHP Billiton Finance.

The fund can also hold government securities, which are
usually listed or traded on other regulated markets. Capital
Group takes a long-term view on investing, using fundamental
analysis and paying attention to valuations.

Vantil Charles: + rated

Sector: Bonds - Euro Corporates

Fund: Capital Group Euro Corporate Bond

Vantil Charles has worked at Capital Group for 12 years. Together with + rated co-manager Thomas Høgh, he runs the Capital Group Euro Corporate Bond fund. This fund, launched in September 2010, invests mainly in eurodenominated corporate investment grade bonds and other fixed income securities. So it is no surprise to find Germany, France, Spain and Italy well represented in the portfolio. However, its biggest country weighting is the US, at 18% of the fund, and its biggest holding, at 3.2%, is Australian company BHP Billiton Finance.

The fund can also hold government securities, which are
usually listed or traded on other regulated markets. Capital
Group takes a long-term view on investing, using fundamental
analysis and paying attention to valuations.

John Weavers: + rated

Sector: Equity - US

Funds: M&G North American Dividend, M&G Offshore American

John Weavers joined M&G in 2007 as a graduate of politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University. He has managed the M&G North American Dividend fund since 2015. This fund invests in the shares of North American companies that have the potential to grow their dividends over the long term. Its top holding is Methanex, the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol.

The new M&G Offshore American fund is a clone of this,
perhaps launched to offset political uncertainty in the UK.
Having started managing funds three years ago, Weavers
received his first Citywire rating in July this year, and again
earned a + rating last month.

Anne Beaudu: + rated

Sector: Bonds - Global Flexible

Fund: Amundi Oblig Internationales

Launched in February 2011, the Amundi Oblig Internationales fund’s aim is to outperform the JP Morgan Global Government Bond Index Broad over at least three years. French native Anne Beaudu runs the fund with + rated co-manager Cédric Morisseau. Beaudu became a senior global fixed income manager in 2010 and received her first Citywire rating in the global flexible bonds sector in July 2014. She has had a relatively consistent ratings run since May 2017. She employs a macro bonds investment style, using tactical currency overlays and tactical derivative overlays. ‘Within fixed income, duration management and regional allocation were key contributors [to the fund’s performance]. The fund’s small overweight in peripheral Europe (mostly Portugal) did well, despite the Italian budget uncertainties,’ she says.

James Zimmerman: AAA rated

Sector: Equity - UK Smaller Companies

Fund: Jupiter UK Smaller Companies

Top-ranking James Zimmerman has run the Jupiter UK Smaller Companies fund since 2015. He prefers to invest in small companies in which management own a significant stake, especially those in strong financial positions, believing these to be best-placed to perform well over the long term. He is relatively conservative in managing the portfolio due to the more volatile nature of smaller company share prices. He likes companies in the consumer defensive and consumer cyclical sectors, such as online supermarket Ocado and British miniature wargaming manufacturing company Games Workshop, which he holds at 4.4% and 3.6% respectively. He tends to avoid complex areas such as healthcare, where share price influencers can be harder to predict.

Makoto Egami: AA rated

Sector: Equity - Japan

Fund: Comgest Growth Japan

Makoto Egami joined Comgest’s Tokyo office in 2013. He is an analyst and portfolio manager within the Japanese equity team, identifying quality growth stock, and enters Citywire’s manager ratings with an AA. The fund is ranked 8/102 over three years and 2/119 over the past 12 months. The fund’s most recent monthly commentary addresses the effects of a growing trade war between China and the US. It claims Japanese exporter companies already ‘have a lengthy experience with both protectionist trade partners and volatile currency behaviour’ and ‘have countered this by building substantial manufacturing capacity outside Japan’. The biggest contributor to the fund was SoftBank Group, a Japanese conglomerate whose robotics operations include a domestic robot, Pepper, as seen on TV.

David Houston: AA rated

Sector: Equity - European Small & Medium Companies

Fund: Vontobel Fund European M&S Cap

Keen golfer, skier and sailor David Houston has been managing the Vontobel European medium and small cap fund since 2009. The fund has holdings spread across nine European countries with its biggest weighting, 24%, in Germany. In terms of sectors, its biggest holding is in financials, 25%, followed by industrials, 21% and IT, 16%. Law graduate Houston got his first Citywire rating, a +, in 2017 but has consistently flicked between A and AA throughout the past 12 months. His fund is ranked 16/71 over three years. Over one year it has been less impressive, ranking 65/90. Over the longer-term five years, he has ended up pretty much bang on the average manager’s performance.

Eytan Shapiro: AAA rated

Sector: North American Equities

Funds: JPM US Small Cap Growth, JPM US Smaller Companies

Eytan Shapiro and his investors have benefited from the booming domestic US economy. The high-octane strategy employed across his funds, which focuses on quality growth companies, has delivered since president Trump took office.

However, there is a note of caution. Shapiro suffered a difficult month during the savage October for US equities, with an average loss of 12.6% across his two mandates versus a decline of 9% on the Russell 2000 index.

But if the US economy continues to grow at its current pace, this could be a good opportunity to buy into this successful strategy. The strategy is currently overweight the industrial-linked producer durables sector, with key stakes in garden equipment supplier Toro (2%) and office equipment supplier Brady (1.7%).

Yiqian Jiang: + rated

Sector: Equity - China

Fund: Harvest China A Shares Equity

Yiqian Jiang and A-rated co-manager Yannan Chenye have outperformed the MSCI China index during their first three years on the fund. This is no easy feat given how volatile the market has been. In particular, Chinese A shares have significantly underperformed the broader index; this index includes Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, along with those listed in Shanghai.

The fund’s chief holding is a 9.5% stake in China Merchants Bank, China’s first shareholding commercial bank wholly owned by corporate legal entities. Despite this overweight stake, the portfolio is underweight financials at 24% of the fund, versus the 29.5% it makes up of the index. Conversely the fund has more than double the exposure to healthcare names, with a 15% investment in the sector.

Jim Caron: AA rated

Sector: Bonds - Global

Fund: Morgan Stanley Global Bond

Jim Caron, co-manager on Morgan Stanley’s £440 million Global Bond fund, has moved up to AA this month following top-quartile returns over the past three years. In a recent note to investors, prior to October’s stock market wobble, the team said they believe we are not yet done when it comes to the Fed’s rate rising path.

‘Recent meetings showed the Fed reaffirmed its plan to hike three times in 2019, and the market is coming around to this view’, the team said, adding they believe the benchmark 10-year treasury yields will settle between 3% and 3.5%.

Although they are expecting more rises, they are only modestly short the market’s duration, the portfolios sensitivity to a change in rates, with a duration of 6.7 years versus the index’s seven years.

Antoine de Crepy: + rated

Sector: Equity - European Small & Medium Companies

Fund: AXA WF Framlington Europe MicroCap

Equity manager Antoine de Crepy has put his faith in European consumers. At 19.1% he is overweight the benchmark’s 13.6% in consumer cyclicals. In a note to investors on 28 September, de Crepy highlighted Bath-based media company Future plc as a holding that has performed well in this sector. However, he also noted that, despite the benefits of his overweight position in consumer cyclicals, his underweight in industrials was costly to the fund.

Although perhaps cautious of the UK and the effect of Brexit on small and medium-sized companies with a benchmark weighting to the country, de Crepy is overweight Europe’s two biggest economies. These are Germany (at almost double the index) and France, as well as Sweden, again displaying his confidence in the continent.

Erin Xie: A-rated

Sector: Equity - Pharmaceuticals & Health Care

Fund: BGF World Healthscience A2

Moving up in the ratings is Erin Xie, who runs the largest proportion of healthcare assets outside the US in the form of the $3.8 billion (£2.9 billion) BGF World Healthscience fund. At 78.2% Xie is overweight the US, compared with the MSCI World Health Care index’s 70%. The portfolio’s chief overweight is also the equipment industry with 26% in medical devices and supplies, compared with the 19.5% index weight. This position proved to be a wise decision in the third quarter, with the sub-sector returning 12.5% in dollar terms, 1% ahead of the broad index.

Although Xie has consistently performed strongly over the past three years, the aftermath of last week’s US mid-term election results could throw up some negative headlines for the sector.

Juan Hartsfield: A-rated

Sector: Equity - Consumer Discretionary

Fund: Invesco Global Leisure

Juan Hartsfield runs the Invesco Global Leisure fund with Citywire AA-rated Ido Cohen. Although Hartsfield’s three-year performance is very good compared with the average manager and benchmark, his manager ratio will have been adjusted to incorporate the volatility of this fund.

He is overweight the US at 76.5% compared with the benchmark’s 65.1%, again hoping the US’s strong run will continue to bear fruit. The consumer holdings in this fund are fairly technology-heavy, with Amazon, Alibaba and Netflix in the top 10. Compared with the index’s 0% weighting in software, and internet software and services, this is quite significant.

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Related Fund Managers

Anne Beaudu
Anne Beaudu
2/53 in Bonds - Global Flexible (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 24.28%
Juan Hartsfield
Juan Hartsfield
5/15 in Equity - Consumer Discretionary (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 66.29%
Erin Xie
Erin Xie
7/29 in Equity - Pharmaceuticals & Health Care (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 45.03%
Antoine de Crepy
Antoine de Crepy
29/69 in Equity - European Small & Medium Companies (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 37.68%
David Houston
David Houston
37/69 in Equity - European Small & Medium Companies (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 33.35%
Yiqian Jiang
Yiqian Jiang
10/37 in Equity - China (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 65.0%
Jim Caron
Jim Caron
4/88 in Bonds - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 24.94%
Vantil Charles
Vantil Charles
5/19 in Bonds - Euro Corporates (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 22.11%
Eytan Shapiro
Eytan Shapiro
4/58 in Equity - US Small & Medium Companies (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 98.25%
John Weavers
John Weavers
37/238 in Equity - US (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 67.93%
Makoto Egami
Makoto Egami
7/95 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 53.96%
James Zimmerman
James Zimmerman
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