As we approach 18 months under Shinzo Abe’s aggressive easing plans, which Japanese equity managers have blossomed under the Prime Minister’s policies?
If we rewind to December 2012, when Abe assumed office, there are 173 fund managers in the Equity – Japan sector with a track record over this period.
Using Citywire Discovery, we can see that the average manager returned 59.51% over the period to the end of May 2014. This milestone was beaten by 63 of the managers, which equates to 36% of the peer group.
The Topix TR rose 58.42% in yen terms over the same period, which was surpassed by 76 (43.9%) of the managers in this Citywire analysis. Let’s take a closer look at the top three managers over this timeframe.
#3. Gerardo Rodríguez Mesonero, Bankia
Total returns (December 2012-May 2014): 89.29%
Citywire A-rated Gerardo Rodríguez Mesonero has posted the third strongest performance over this analysis period. The Spain-based investor has overseen the Japan-focused fund on behalf of Bankia since 2010.
Mesonero invests with a large-cap blended approach and has almost 100% exposure to the Japanese equity market. There is currently a very marginal exposure to the United States, which makes up 0.03% of the fund according to the latest available data.
#2. Chris Taylor, Neptune
Total returns (December 2012-May 2014): 90.66%
Pipping Mesonero into second place is Neptune’s Chris Taylor, who is lead manager on the €424 million Neptune Japan Opportunities fund. Taylor runs a concentrated portfolio of 40-60 stocks.
The fund has a large exposure to the Japanese industrials sector at present, which makes up 29% of the total portfolio. This is ahead of allocations to materials (18.3%) and financials (15.4%).
Taylor, who is Citywire AA-rated, said the current positioning reflects a belief that large-cap multi-nationals are set to benefit most from further weakening of the yen, as well as expansion of global economies in the developing world.
#1. Kentaro Nishida, Ruffer
Fund: CF Ruffer Japanese O Acc
Total returns (December 2012-May 2014): 97.75%
Leading the way over this mid-term performance period is Ruffer’s Citywire AAA-rated manager Kentaro Nishida. He has run the CF Ruffer Japanese fund since it was launched in May 2009.
Nishida runs a highly diversified fund of 70 stocks, this is while financials (20%) emerges as the largest sector allocation. This is ahead of 15% exposure to both the industrials and consumer goods sectors.
While Nishida said the Japanese market has been adversely affected by falling long-term interest rates in the US, this has actually created some buying opportunities. In his most recent update, Nishida said stocks are proving more attractive following earnings expansion and falling share prices.
The top 10 managers in full
||Fund(s)||Total Return (December 12-May 14)|
|Kentaro Nishida||CF Ruffer Japanese O Acc||97.75%|
|Chris Taylor||Neptune Japan Opportunities A Acc GBP||90.66%|
|Gerardo Rodríguez Mesonero||Bankia Bolsa Japonesa, FI||89.29%|
|Jean-Pierre Chiarla||FCM Japon||88.62%|
|Rupert Kimber||Tiburon Taiko B USD Hedged||85.45%|
|Taeko Setaishi||Atlantis Japan Opportunities||84.97%|
|Nicholas Price||Fidelity Funds – Japan Aggressive I-ACC-JPY||84.92%|
|Hideo Shiozumi||Legg Mason Japan Equity A||82.87%|
|Jeffrey Atherton/Neil Edwards/Stephen Harker||GLG Japan CoreAlpha Institutional Acc E GBP/GLG Japan CoreAlpha Equity I JPY||81.60%|
|Richard Aston||CC Japan Income & Growth USD Founder Inc||81.52%|