Latest research shows Singapore's GDP is expected to grow by around 1.5% in 2012.
Against the sluggish economic situation, 11 fund managers have debuted in the Singapore ratings this month.
The highest entrant is Asian equities veteran Linda Csellak of Manulife Asset Management. Based in Hong Kong, Csellak oversees the firm’s Asia Pacific equity team and its ASEAN equity team.
Coming straight into the ratings with the top AAA rating, Csellak is recognised for her performance on the Manulife Global Fund-Asian Small Cap Equity AA and the Manulife Global Fund-Asian Equity A funds.
Her small cap-focused fund has gained 45.45% in Singapore dollar terms over the past three years against a 1.49% rise by its benchmark, MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Small Cap NR USD.
European corporate bond specialist Luca Pagni at BNP Paribas enters the ratings on his debut with an A rating. His Luxembourg-domiciled Parvest Flexible Bond Europe Corporate C fund currently invests largely in communications (26.4%) and consumer staples (25.3%).
Almost half (47.1%) of the portfolio is invested in the US market and its top three holdings are Weyerhaeuser (6.3%), Rayonier RIET (6.3%) and Plum Creek Timber (6%).
Another standout manager this month is First State’s Alistair Thompson. The emerging market equities specialist has earned a coveted AAA rating this month.
Thompson currently runs five funds across the equity Asia Pacific ex Japan and equity Malaysia/Singapore sectors.
The two strategies have beaten their respective benchmarks returning 31.78% and 30.55%, respectively, in Singapore dollar terms over the past three years as of October.
Another manager joining the AAA-rated managers club this month is Thierry Cuypers at Natixis Global Asset Management.
Cuyper, who is lead manager on the Natixis Europe Smaller Companies Fd I/A(EUR) fund, describes his investment approach as adopting a top-down geographic allocation strategy together with a bottom-up equity selection method.
Elsewhere, Beryl Bouvier di Nota at Amundi has gained a AAA rating in November.
Benefiting from several strongly-performing stocks, such as Grifols and Técnicas Reunidas, Bouvier di Nota generated a strong, risk-adjusted performance in the European small-cap market.
Her Amundi Fds Equity Euroland Small Cap - AE (C) fund has outperformed its Citywire benchmark, MSCI EMU Small Cap TR EUR, by 10% over the past three years.
Fidelity leads the way in the manager ratings group stakes with 14 rated managers. BlackRock sits second with 10 and Pictet is third with nine rated managers.
In summary, ratings have been awarded to 188 managers who manage funds registered for sale in Singapore. As of October 2012, this was composed of 32 AAA, 41 AA and 115 A ratings.
We are currently tracking 1,367 managers running 1,489 funds, of which 1,004 have the necessary performance history required to be eligible for a rating.