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Top five most consistent Japanese equity managers revealed

As the country’s economy contracts, Citywire Global finds the fund managers who have consistently outperformed over the past five years.

Fund manager: Albert Abehsera

Funds: IFDC Japan Dynamic A/UBAM IFDC Japan Equity JPY I C/UBAM IFDC Japan Opportunities Equity I C

Best year of outperformance: +5.03% in 2008/09

Operating across three strategies, Euro Stars AAA-rated Albert Abehsera is the only fund manager on this list to have managed outperformance in the Japanese equity sector across multiple strategies over this five-year analysis period.

Out of the three funds, one is run on behalf of his specialist Japanese equity boutique IDFC, while also running two strategies on mandate from Union Bancaire Privée. The largest fund under his control is the €170 million UBAM IFDC Japan Equity fund.

In this diverse strategy of 80-120 stocks, Abehsera is mainly invested in financials (19%) and technology (18.5%), while running underweights in industrials and consumer discretionary names.

Note: Slides listed in ascending order of greatest outperformance compared to the average manager in the Equity Japan sector. This covers the period September 2007 to September 2012.

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Fund manager: Andrew Rose

Fund: Schroder Tokyo A

Best year of outperformance: +5.06% in 2008/09

Also posting strong outperformance compared to the average manager over the past five years is Andrew Rose, lead manager on the €961 million Schroder Tokyo A fund.

Rose’s primary area of investment is said to focus on where Japan has world leading companies, such as the manufacturing sector, as well as those able to adapt to structural change.

At present this equates to a slight overweight to industrial names and a more pronounced overweight in consumer services names. On the flipside, Rose has a 2.4% underweight in financials, while also holding nearly 7% less than the Topix TR index in consumer goods.

The London-born manager has overseen the portfolio since April 2004 when he succeeded Dennis Clough. Clough had run the fund since its launch in March 1989.

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Fund manager: Michael Lindsell

Fund: Lindsell Train – Japanese Equity A

Best year of outperformance: +5.95% in 2011/12

Nearing nine years on the Lindsell Train – Japanese Equity fund, fund manager and namesake Michael Lindsell has been running the Dublin-domiciled strategy since taking over from famed Japanese equity investor Scott McGlashan in January 2004.

Operating a strongly consumer-focused approach, Lindsell also has large positions in media (21%) and pharmaceuticals (22%).

According to his most recent factsheet, a comeback computer games firm Nintendo (8.3%) has helped drive Lindsell’s performance.

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Fund manager: Sarah Whitley

Fund: Baillie Gifford Japanese A Acc

Best year of outperformance: +6.53% in 2011/12

First on our list is Baillie Gifford’s Sarah Whitley, who has run the €216 million Baillie Gifford Japanese A Acc fund since November 2007.

The fund operates without any clear sector bias, with telecommunications, industrials, consumer goods and services, and electronics each accounting for between 14-16% of the fund. The largest single position at present is a 5.4% holding in electronics firm Hikari Tsushin.

Whitley is serving her second stint as lead manager on the fund, having previously run it between September 2004 and January 2006 before handing it to John MacDougall. She was joined by co-manager Matthew Brett in June 2008.

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Fund manager: Fiona Frick

Fund: UNI-GLOBAL Minimum Variance Japan B1 JPY

Best year of outperformance: +9.52% in 2010/11

Citywire A-rated manager Fiona Frick recently re-emerged on our ratings radar for her performance across seven different funds in six different sectors. Continuing this stellar track record is her consistent effort in the Japanese equity sector.

In the 84-stock UNI-GLOBAL Minimum Variance Japan fund, Frick has a diverse cap-weighting and is mainly invested on consumer names. This sees consumer discretionary and consumer staples account for a combined 34% of the €211 million fund.

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Related Fund Managers

Sarah Whitley
Sarah Whitley
25/153 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 147.59%
Scott McGlashan
Scott McGlashan
80/153 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 116.33%
Andrew Rose
Andrew Rose
52/153 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 124.51%
Albert Abehsera
Albert Abehsera
97/153 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 112.68%
Michael Lindsell
Michael Lindsell
70/153 in Equity - Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 119.46%
Fiona Frick
Fiona Frick
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