Asian recovery shows through

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While the performance of investment funds continues to be so strikingly different between the different asset classes covered in this quarter’s IPE/Lipper table of funds for institutional investors, perhaps not surprisingly, what may come as a surprise is the major changes occurring in Asian market table.
A key finding of this survey and it may be an unexpected one is the number of managers who have come through the assessment process since the last analysis appeared in IPE’s September issue, looking at end June data for fund’s performance, which is just one of the factors taken into account for appearance in the table (see methodology box on opposite page).
The number of funds which have come through the benchmarking process in the Asia (ex Japan) category has almost doubled since the last analysis, marking the recovery in the relevant markets. Those funds which came through the grid include those from the Barclays, Citiport-Indust, Sarasin, GAM and Deutsche Bank, with the funds from Fidelity and Top 50 Asian showing their paces in particular. but of particular interest are the funds from AMEX, Barings and Sun Life that have been there from the previous quarter, thus proving their credentials on the consistency front.
The criteria used are that the top funds who are among the top 40% of performing funds, which have outperformed the relevant, but different benchmark assigned to the each of the investment classes covered, more than 50% of the time over a rolling three-year period.
As far as European equity is concerned, there have not been many changes, though the absence of the ABN AMRO fund reflecting its fall at the hurdles, with “its place” being taken by the Luxembourg-based Euro Action.
Of particular interest is the global equity market table, which had over a 25% fall out rate of funds from the 40 plus funds featured in the previous quarter’s table, with ACM, GAM and the WALSER funds not making it through the gridiron this time, though some of the players who survived are showing their measure as contenders for consideration in this very important category.
US Bonds seems to be permanently unable to field a range of funds that can outperform the Lehman Aggregate index in the manner prescribed. Again only one representative of this extremely populous field got through the Winchester GI-Pimco, a British Virgin Islands based fund. In the previous quarter the sole player was CL Lion-Intoblig.
US Equity is another category where the movement of fund performance and that of our criteria came unstuck, reducing by about 15% the numbers in this quarter’s table. Despite the variation in returns, there is a good selection of funds with very respectable performances that can be included when going shopping for this product.
Emerging Market Equity has seen a thinning of the ranks, with some big fund names disappearing from the table in the period since the last survey, including Vontobel, Templeton GS and Henderson. The Schroders fund dominates in terms of size. With quite a range in performance statistics, undoubtedly reflecting the allocation of assets across the different markets. But in terms of returns over the two quarters, the range of performance is less extreme than the time before.
In general, the number of funds getting into our final pools has shrunk without any alteration in the criteria compared with last time out in September. That is except in the one category that of Asian funds (ex Japan), where the returns achieved are less extreme in compared with the previous listing in September’s IPE , but it is the US, Europe and global markets where the best results are being achieved in terms of investment returns. Paula Garrido

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