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The small funds packing a punch: Asia Pacific equity

The sector's best performing fund over three years has under €50 million in assets and is one of 12 small funds in its top 20.

Small funds, big outperformance

Of the 20 top performing funds in the Asia Pacific equity sector over the past three years, 12 have less than €50 million worth of assets under management.

Although the region's fund selectors would be reluctant to invest in such small vehicles, the figures reveal that many top performing funds are being overlooked as a result.

Over the three years from 31 December 2009 to 31 December 2012 the average manager in the sector returned 8.6%, while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific TR USD benchmark delivered a 16.8% return. However, the best of the small funds profiled in this gallery has returned four times as much as the average manager.

Note: The majority of AUM data is according to the latest information available on the Citywire fund database.

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KBC Exposure Booster Asia USD

Belgium-based KBC's Exposure Booster Asia fund kicks off our look at the top- performing Asia Pacific list, boasting a return of 17.29% over the past three years.

Combined, the three iterations of the fund have €50 million under management.

The fund tracks leading Asian indices and at the end of January Japanese equities accounted for 23.8% of the fund, with equity holdings in the wider Asia Pacific region accounting for 14.7%.

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Oudart Asie

With a return of 17.6% over the past three years, Oudart Asie comes in as the 17th highest performer in our ranking. The fund has €4.7 million under management.

The fund is managed by Nicolas Brault, who also oversees Oudart's equity France, equity France small and mid-cap, and mixed asset funds.

Small and mid-cap equities can account for up to 30% of the Oudart Asie fund and it can have up to 50% of its assets invested in emerging markets.

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Handelsbanken Funds Far East Shares USD Cap

Stefan Hagman runs the Handelsbanken Funds Far East Shares fund, which claims 14th place in our table. The fund has returned 18.3% over the past three years and has €26.3 million under management.

Part of Swedish bank Handelsbanken's stable, the fund has a focus on financials and technology. The former accounted for 28.9% of the fund at the end of December, while technology holdings accounted for 16.9%.

The two biggest holdings in the fund are electronics giant Samsung (5% of the fund) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (3.9%).

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BNP Paribas L1 Equity High Div Pacific CC USD

The BNP Paribas L1 Equity High Div Pacific CC fund takes 13th place in the table, having returned 18.5% over the past three years. The fund is at the bigger end of the small spectrum, with €37.3 million under its aegis.

Arthur Lok Tin Kwong manages the fund, which invests at least two- thirds of its assets in companies that have their offices or conduct the majority of their business activities in the Pacific region and whose dividend return is greater than the average of the Pacific market.

At the end of December the fund's biggest holdings were mining giant BHP Billiton (7%), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (4.8%) and Westpac Banking (4.4%).

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UBI SICAV - Asia Pacific Equity I

Italian asset manager UBI Pramerica's UBI SICAV - Asia Pacific Equity I fund has returned 18.8% over the past three years and according to its latest factsheet has €40.8 million under management.

At the end of November the fund's three biggest positions were electronics business Samsung (2.9%), miner BHP Billiton (2.1%) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (2%).

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Pioneer Funds Austria - Asia Stock A

Pioneer Funds Austria - Asia Stock comes in 10th, having returned 21%. The fund has €11.6 million under management and is part of Pioneer Investments.

Nicholas McConway runs the fund which is invested purely in equities.

It invests in selected top companies in the Asia Pacific region. The main stock exchanges include: Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. At the end of December, Japanese equities accounted for the biggest chunk of the fund, at 34%, with Australian equities in second place at 12%.

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BDT Invest Asian Focus A USD

A return of 21.3% over the past three years puts the BDT Invest Asian Focus A USD fund in ninth place in our table. It slips into our small fund definition with its €44 million under management.

The fund's co-managed by Henry Thornton and Rob Brewis, who also run BDT Investment Management's ex-Japan Asia Pacific fund.

This long-only fund is not managed against, nor constrained by, any index. At the end of last year industrials were the fund's biggest sector position at 26.5%, while financials took second place at 25.9%.

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CB - Accent (Lux) Far East Equity Fund A USD

Swiss banking group Cornèr Bank's CB - Accent (Lux) Far East Equity fund has returned 21.7% over the past three years and has just over €40 million under management.

Investments are based on fundamental analysis with a medium- to long-term investment strategy.

At the end of 2012, over half of the fund (54.8%) fund was given over to Japanese equities, with 18.2% in Chinese equities.

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MAM Actions Asie

Just missing out on a top-five place in our rankings is the MAM Actions Asie fund, which has returned 23.8% over the past three years. Citywire's latest data puts the fund's size at €25 million.

Fabrice Vennin runs the fund for Meeschaert Asset Management and also looks after the group's natural resources, global equity and IT equity funds.

At the end of January 38.6% of the fund was in international equities, with 8.6% held in Chinese equities.

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ABAKUS Asia Growth Fund

HSBC's ABAKUS Asia Growth Fund takes fifth place in our ranking of the best-performing Asia Pacific funds, having delivered a 31.4% return over the past three years. According to Citywire's latest data the fund has some €8.2 million under management.

This Luxembourg-domiciled fund invests primarily in equities, and equity related securities, of Asian firms. German-born Michael Keppler oversees the fund.

At the end of November its biggest positions were in electronics maker Samsung (2.3%), Hong Kong-listed property business Guangdong Investment (1.9%) and power firm CLP Holdings (1.9%).

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Lingohr-Asien-Systematic-LBB-Invest

Placing third overall, and second among the small funds, is Lingohr-Asien-Systematic- LBB-Invest. This €45.6 million fund has returned an impressive 34.7% over the past three years.

Frank Lingohr, a manager with over 20 years' experience, oversees the fund with a bottom- up investment approach. As much as a quarter of the fund's assets may be held in Australian securities.

At the end of last year, 21% of the fund was invested in Japan, with 14% in South Korea and 13% in Australia.

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JOM Silkkitie

Finland-registered JOM Silkkitie claims first place in our table of the strongest Asia Pacific funds over the past three years, with a return of 41.3%. The fund's latest factsheet puts its assets under management at €25.65 million.

Unusually, this fund is allowed to invest in non-Asian companies, if the market situation requires it.

Juuso Mykkänen oversees the fund, and he spends his time seeking improving structural growth themes in emerging Asian markets.

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