From the rise of China to the onset of Abenomics, the Asia Pacific region has undergone a host of changes in the past five years.
Fund managers have had to endure these swings but how have the fund managers in the Asia Pacific including Japan equities sector fared?
There are currently 50 fund managers boasting a five-year track record in this sector. From this group, the average manager returned 89.88% in absolute terms between November 2008 and November 2011.
However, two managers can attest to having beaten the average peer in each of the past five years. So, who are these consistent outperformers?
Dale Nicholls, Fidelity
Best year of outperformance vs. average manager: +18.33% in 2008/09
The first of our two standouts is Fidelity’s Citywire A-rated manager Dale Nicholls. He has achieved solid outperformance on the $1.5 billion Fidelity Funds – Pacific fund in each of the past five years.
Nicholls, who was announced as the successor to famed investor Anthony Bolton in June, is a bottom-up stockpicker with a strong emphasis on large-cap growth stocks.
He currently runs a very diverse portfolio made up of 219 holdings, with IT (24%) both his largest sector bet and biggest overweight. This is while holding almost half the index weight in financials.
China is currently the largest geographic exposure, accounting for 28.5% of the portfolio at the end of November. This represents a 16.7 percentage point overweight compared to the fund’s benchmark, the MSCI AC Pacific index.
Arnout van Rijn, Robeco
Best year of outperformance vs. average manager: +8.5% in 2010/11
Matching Nicholls for solid outperformance is Citywire A-rated manager Arnout van Rijn of Robeco. He has run the €913 million fund since taking it over from Wim-Hein Pals in August 2007.
Unlike Nicholls, van Rijn has financials as his top sector exposure, this is while also being overweight consumer staples and real estate.
Elsewhere in the fund, he is underweight commodities and, in his latest investor note, he said it is difficult to find attractive industrials.
Van Rijn, who is CIO for Robeco in Hong Kong, has Japan as his biggest geographic exposure. This currently makes up 41% of his fund, with exposure to China making up 13.3%, South Korea 10.2% and Australia 9.2%.