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Top Asia ex-Japan equity funds of 2017

Citywire Asia presents the top five Asia ex-Japan equity funds in 2017

Driven by strong earnings delivery, Asia ex-Japan equities recorded strong returns in 2017. The MSCI All Country (AC) Asia ex-Japan index was up 41.7% over one year to December 2017, the highest since 2009.

In this gallery, we look at Asia ex-Japan equity funds which emerged as top performers in 2017.

The analysis is based on funds that are available for sale in Singapore and/or Hong Kong. Fund performance is measured by total returns in USD terms. Citywire manager ratings are taken as of December 2017.

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The Schroder Asian Growth fund was incepted in May 1991 with Citywire AA-rated Toby Hudson taking over the reins from Louisa Lo in July 2007.

As of end December 2017, nearly two-thirds of the fund is invested in the Greater China region with an exposure of 37.5% to China, 18.4% to Hong Kong and 9.4% to Taiwan.

The fund returned 54.8% against the benchmark's 42.1% in USD terms over one year to December 2017.

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With Citywire A-rated Niraj Bhagwat at the helm, the Wellington Asian opportunities fund outperformed its reference benchmark by 13.3 percentage points over one year to December 2017.

As of end 2017, the fund had the largest allocation to the information technology sector which accounts for 42.4% of its portfolio. Its top two holdings are Tencent and Alibaba with weightings of 9.6% and 7.2% respectively.

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The JP Morgan Asia Growth fund is co-managed by AA-rated Joanna Kwok and A-rated Mark Davids. Financials and information technology sectors form the bulk of the portfolio with weightings of 32.6% and 31.2% respectively.

The fund collected $112.6 million net inflows in 2017, bringing assets under management at year end to $306.3 million.

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The Baring Asia Growth fund returned 57.8% over one year to December 2017, outperforming the benchmark by 15.7 percentage points.

Within Greater China, the fund is overweight on Taiwan (+5.1%) and underweight on China (-6.4%) and Hong Kong (-7.6%) as of end 2017.

Despite its stellar performance, the fund saw net outflows of $2.8 million in December 2017, rounding up the year with assets under management of $136.7 million.

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The Morgan Stanley Asia Opportunity fund is managed by Kristian Heugh, who has been a consistent Citywire AAA-rated manager since April 2017. Heugh has been overseeing the fund since its launch in March 2016.

Under his watch, the fund was up 38.2% since inception (till end 2017) against the MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan index's 24.5%. As of December 2017, the fund was most overweight on China (+34.7%) and most underweight on South Korea (-11.9%).

In 2017, investors added net new money of $229.3 million to the fund, lifting its assets to $314.0 million.

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