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Star Tracker: what happened to last decade's best managers?

Our Citywire Global analysis catches up with the top returning managers of the 2000-2009 period to see whether their funds have maintained their stellar performance in the last two and a half years.

Top performing funds of 2000-2009

Back in January 2010, Citywire Global published a list of the decade’s top performing funds. We felt it was time to revisit its top ten best performing funds to find out how they have fared a quarter of the way through this decade.

In the past 30 months, some fund names have changed while others have seen new managers appointed and our analysis reveals how they have held up against these changes and the volatile markets.

One of the fund’s in the list, the Guernsey-domiciled Taurus Emerging fund, was closed in September 2010 according to reports.

In light of this, this top ten analysis has included the Fortis Eastern Europe fund to fill the gap.

Note: The performance figures for each fund were elaborated, unless specified, using the benchmark supplied by the investment firm and cover a 30-month period from 1st January 2010 to end of June 2012.

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10. Fortis B Equity Eastern Europe

Manager: Michael Kooris

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 290.44%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -3.78%

A number of changes have taken place with this former top ten performing fund. First of all it has changed name and is now known as the BNP Paribas L1 Equity Europe Emerging.

The lead manager has also changed following the departure of Mathieu Nègre, who had been running the fund since 2005. He left and joined Swiss group UBP in April 2010 and was replaced by Michael Kooris.

Over the past 30 months the fund has struggled to outperform, posting returns of -3.78% while its benchmark, MSCI EM Europe 10/40, rose 8.89% in euro terms.

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9. Bestinver Bolsa

Manager: Francisco García Paramés

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 297.9%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -14.6%

While the Bestinver Bolsa has lost money in absolute terms, it has continually outperformed over the past 30 months returning -14.6% while the MSCI Spain, its Citywire benchmark, has lost 32.3% in euro terms.

The equity fund invests more than 75% of its assets in Spain and Portugal and has been managed by star Spanish and Citywire AA-rated manager Francisco García Paramés since it was launched in 1994.

He was later joined by fellow AA-rated managers Alvaro Guzmán de Lazaro in 2003 Fernando Bernard Marrase and in 2007.

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8. Griffin Eastern European Class

Manager: Thomas Farthofer

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 319.28%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -9.45%

Another fund which has seen its name change is the Griffin Eastern European Class, now known as the Renaissance Eastern European fund following the acquisition of Griffin Capital Management's funds by rival firm Renaissance Asset Managers (RAM) in December last year.

The fund has been taken over by Plamen Monovski, who is RAM’s chief investment officer, and Karol Chrystowski.

Over the past 30 months the fund has underperformed its benchmark having posted negative returns of -9.45% while its benchmark, MSCI EM Europe 10/40 TR, rose 10.22% over the same period in euro terms.

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7. BGF World Mining Fund

Manager: Evy Hambro

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 359.25%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -18.1%

The first of three appearances by BlackRock’s top natural resources manager. Evy Hambro’s $9.4 billion World Mining Fund appears to have had difficulty breaking away from its benchmark’s performance over the last 30 months.

During this period, the Citywire A-rated manager’s Luxembourg-domiciled fund has posted negative returns of -18.1%, narrowly underperforming its HSBC Global Mining TR benchmark which fell by 17.26% in US dollar terms.

Speaking to Citywire Global in June, Hambro questioned why gold companies were so slow in posting dividends to investors.

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6. Cominvest Fund Eastern Europe Equity

Manager: Alexandra Richter

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 387.37%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -1.09%

Renamed the Allianz Emerging Europe in October 2010, the fund focuses predominantly on Russia and also invests in countries like Turkey and Poland.

Over the past 30 months, the fund has underperformed its benchmark posting negative returns of -1.09% while the MSCI EM Europe 10/40 TR has risen 8.89% in euro terms.

Its previous manager, Andrea Szabo-Kelly, no longer runs the fund and it was taken over by Alexandra Richter in January 2012.

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5. BGF World Gold Fund

Manager: Evy Hambro

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 394.28%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -3.06%

Last decade’s fifth top performing fund is also managed by BlackRock’s Evy Hambro and over the last 30 months has outperformed its benchmark.

Over this period, his Luxembourg-domiciled BGF World Gold Fund has posted negative returns of -3.06% while its benchmark, FTSE Gold Mines, has fallen by more than double to -7.12% in US dollar terms.

The fund’s favours mid cap gold companies which currently make up 45% of its portfolio, almost double that of its benchmark at 26%.

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4. JPM Natural Resources

Manager: Neil Gregson

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 416.4%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -5.39%

The major change to the JPM Natural Resources fund is the appointment of Neil Gregson as lead manager in January 2012 after it was announced Ian Henderson, who had run the fund since its inception in 2004, was stepping down from active fund management.

The fund’s global Ucits version was launched in December 2004 and mirrors the strategy used by the UK-domiciled fund.

Over the past 30 months, the fund has underperformed its Citywire benchmark having posted negative returns of -5.39% while the LCI HSBC Global Mining/MSCI ACWI Energy (75:25) has risen 3.2% in euro terms.

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3. Falcon Gold Equity Fund

Manager: Joe Foster

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 438.15%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -4.8%

Foster has been running the Falcon Gold Equity fund since its inception in 1992 and currently holds a Citywire AA rating.

The US-based manager has extensive experience in the mining sector having previously worked as a mine geologist before turning to fund management.

Over the past 30 months his fund has outperformed its benchmark, having posted negative returns of -4.8% while the FTSE Gold Mines index has fallen 7.12% in US dollar terms.

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2. BlackRock Gold & General Inc

Manager: Evy Hambro

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 476.02%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: -0.69%

Making the last of his appearances, Hambro has been running the UK-domiciled BlackRock Gold & General Inc since March 2009 after taking over from former manager Graham Birch who had been running it since October 2009.

Over the past 30 months, the £2.7 billion fund has outperformed its benchmark - like Hambro’s BGF World Gold Fund - after having posted negative returns of 0.69% while the FTSE Gold Mines index has fallen 4.37% in pound sterling terms.

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1. ZZI

Manager: Peter Pühringer

  • 2000 to 2009 returns: 631.14%
  • 2010 to June 2012 returns: 34.19%

Last decade’s top performing fund, global emerging markets bond fund ZZ1, is the only fund in this ranking to have produced absolute returns over the last 30 months.

However, it has underperformed its benchmark having posted returns of 34.19% over this period while its JP Morgan EMBI Global index has risen 47.23% in euro terms.

Its Vienna-based manager Peter Pühringer prefers to avoid the limelight and the fund suffered an extended period of underperformance during the 2010-2011 period, according to Citywire data.

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