SYZ & CO replaces manager in Japan strategy overhaul

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Swiss group SYZ & CO has appointed Joël Le Saux as the new fund manager on its OYSTER Japan Opportunities fund, Citywire Global can reveal.

The Geneva-based group’s Japan fund was until recently managed by Tom Mermagen, Ian Wright, Steven Morant and Richard Phillips, a value orientated quartet from London-based Japan specialists Morant Wright Management Limited.

However, following positive developments in the Japanese economy and a pledge from new prime minister Shinzo Abe to beat deflation, Banque Syz spokesperson Ricardo Payro told Citywire Global that a decision had been taken to run the fund in-house using a broader investment approach.

Le Saux's strategy will be more agnostic in terms of style and will focus on companies set to benefit from Japan's changing outlook, according to the firm.

He will focus less on niche and domestic orientated stocks, which have been dominant in many Japanese equity portfolios in recent years, and instead his portfolio will be more balanced between stocks of domestic and international exporting companies.

He joins the firm from rival Swiss group UBP where he was an analyst for funds investing in Japan. He is fluent in Japanese and has 17 years' experience investing in Japan. 

The fund will now also be included in the group’s institutional fund range.

‘We believe that after a lot of false starts, Japan has reached a real decisive moment in its recent history,’ said Payro.

The firm believes the implementation of a much more expansionary monetary policy and the sharp drop in the value of the yen is likely to give renewed competitiveness to many Japanese products.

Over the last five years, the OYSTER Japan Opportunities fund has lost 15.2% while its benchmark, Topix TR, has fallen 22.4% in yen terms.