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Top five Japan equity managers of the past five years revealed

Top five Japan equity managers of the past five years revealed

Japanese equities experienced a famously restrained and often disappointing reputation in the years proceeding the much talked about advent of Abenomics.

While the stock market has picked up off the back of Shinzo Abe's second stint as Prime Minister, how have those with longer-term track records performed?

In the five years to July 31, 2014, the benchmark TOPIX has climbed 39.48%, while the average manager in the Japanese equity sector has returned 48.34%.

Data from Citywire shows that out of 124 managers tracked, 49 managers beat the average, while around 76 beat the benchmark index.

Narrowing this down to managers running funds registered for sale in either Ireland, Luxembourg or one Asian market, there are five standouts boasting returns of more than 70% over the five-year period.

Top performers

5. Chantana Ward, Comgest

Five-year return (July 2009-July 2014): 75.27%

Funds currently handled: Comgest Growth Japan Yen, Comgest Japan

Taking fifth place in our countdown is Citywire + rated Chantana Ward, who started managing the fund in January 2008. She currently co-manages the fund with Richard Kay, who was named as a co-manager in January 2010.

By the end of July 31, consumer discretionary accounts for the top sector holding (26.3%)  in the Growth Japan Yen fund, while information technology makes up 20.7% of the fund.

M3 Inc, an online medical information service for doctors, and Hikari Tsushin, a mobile telecom subscription agency, account for the top two stock holdings, taking up 3.7% of the fund each.

4. Ian Heslop, Old Mutual

Five-year return (July 2009-July 2014): 75.59%

Funds currently handled: Old Mutual Japanese Equity A JPY

Coming in fourth place is Citywire AA rated Ian Heslop, who co-manages the OM Japanese Equity fund with Amadeo Alentorn and Mike Servent. The fund's strategy is to have a portfolio of stocks that can outperform in the current macroeconomic environment.

At the end of July 31, the top three sectors were industrials (25.11%), consumer discretionary (23.68%) and financials (15.28%). This is while the largest individual position was in motoring group Toyota Motor, which made up 4.85% of the fund.

3. Tadao Minaguchi, Invesco

Five-year return (July 2009-July 2014): 75.76%

Funds currently handled: Invesco Japanese Equity Advantage (A Acc Shares)

Number three on the list is Citywire A-rated Tadao Minaguchi, whose fund’s top three holdings are Keyence Corporation (5.1%), Orix Corp (4.9%) and Ricoh (4.1%). Information technology and industrials account for half the fund’s holdings by sector.

The fund, which Minaguchi has been managing since 2006, was hard-closed in early June this year. This was after the fund exceeded its set limit for assets and rose to 150 billion yen ($1.47 billion).

2. Scott McGlashan, JO Hambro

Five-year return (July 2009-July 2014): 78.21%

Funds currently handled: JOHCM Japan B GBP, JOHCM Japan Dividend Growth A GBP

At number two sits Scott McGlashan of JO Hambro. McGlashan and co-manager Ruth Nash are Citywire AA-rated for their performance on the JOHCM Japan fund. Nash narrowly misses out on this analysis, as her tenure on the fund only began in August 2009.

The largest position in the fund is currently Mitsubishi Industries, which is a 3% position. Japan Securities Finance Company and Tokyo Marine Holding are the next two large holdings, accounting for 2.9% each. The top sector in the fund is manufacturing, which makes up 41.5% of the portfolio, while finance and insurance makes up 18.3%.

1. Nicholas Price, Fidelity

Five-year return: 93.27%

Funds currently handled: Fidelity Funds Japan Aggressive Fund

Citywire AA-rated Nicholas Price is the top manager in Japanese equities over five years. He falls narrowly short of the much-vaunted 100% return on the fund he has been managing since 2006.

Latest available data shows the services sector is Price's current largest exposure at present, making up 16% of the fund compared to a TOPIX allocation of 2.6%. This is just ahead of allocations to the electrical machinery sector (13.7%) and financial businesses (10.4%).

The largest single allocation in the fund is currently to Pigeon Corp, the consumer and household goods specialist. It is a 5.4% position at present, which is just ahead of financial services group Orix Corp (5.2%).

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Related Fund Managers

Ian Heslop
Ian Heslop
62/1294 in Equity - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 18.73%
Amadeo Alentorn
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63/1294 in Equity - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 18.73%
Mike Servent
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64/1294 in Equity - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 18.73%
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42/155 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 26.06%
Chantana Ward
Chantana Ward
15/155 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 34.52%
Tadao Minaguchi
Tadao Minaguchi
42/155 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 26.06%
Nicholas Price
Nicholas Price
34/155 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 29.65%
Ruth Nash
Ruth Nash
111/155 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 12.66%
Scott McGlashan
Scott McGlashan
110/155 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 12.66%
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