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The small funds packing a punch: equity Europe

Almost half of the top 20 performing European equity funds over the past three years have under €40 million in assets. We take a look at their performance.

Small funds, big outperformance

Of the 20 top-performing funds in the equity Europe sector over the past three years, eight have less than €40 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 14.7%, while the FTSE World Europe TR EUR benchmark delivered a 21.4% return. However, the best of the small funds profiled in this gallery have returned almost three times this.

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

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Atlantas Sicav Euro-Croissance

First up on our list of the best-performing small funds is Atlantas Saga Conseil's Atlantas Sicav Euro-Croissance fund, which has returned 47.8% over the past three years. Launched in 1992, the Luxembourg-domiciled fund has €19.5 million in assets.

Some 18% of the fund is invested in the technology sector, with industrials the next biggest sector at 16%.

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Varenne Selection

Second on our list is the Varenne Capital Partners' Varenne Selection fund, which has just €6.4 million in assets under management. Nonetheless, it's delivered a highly impressive 49.8% over our three-year analysis period.

Managed by Marco Sormani, the fund's been running since December of 2006.

The fund's exposure to equity markets is between 60% (minimum exposure to EU equities) and 110%. The equity part of the portfolio is based on a deep-value approach and on special situations purchases.

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Multiadvisor Sicav - PRIVAT INVEST

IPConcept's Multiadvisor Sicav - PRIVAT INVEST fund is another small fund (€14.5 million of assets under management) boasting significant outperformance. Over three years it's returned 51.2%.

Until the start of the year Gregor Zours oversaw the fund, which invests primarily in shares in companies headquartered in continental-European countries. Shares from German- speaking countries constitute the major investment focus of the portfolio.

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Share Euro-Selection Cap

The Share Euro-Selection Cap fund, part Bank DeGrooff's stable, has €33.2 million of assets under management. It's returned 51.3% over the past three years, putting it in 12th place overall.

It's managed by Citywire Euro Stars AA-rated Laurent Dobler on behalf of the Belgian bank, who also runs Comgest's Renaissance Europe funds.

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MFS Meridian Funds European Core Equity EUR

MFS star Roger Morley, who boasts a Citywire Euro Stars AAA rating, manages the MFS Meridian Funds European Core Equity EUR fund, which has returned 52.9% over the past three years.

The fund's biggest sector exposure is to consumer goods companies, which account for 29.31% of the portfolio. This is followed by a 22.37% exposure to financials companies.

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Handelsbanken Funds Europe Selective A EUR

Lars Johansson runs the Handelsbanken Funds Europe Selective A EUR fund, which has €37.6 million of assets under management.

At the end of lat year, 97.5% of the fund was allocated to equities, with just 2.5% held in bonds and cash. The UK is the biggest investment region for the fund, accounting for 45.7% of the portfolio.

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Stryx Europa EUR F

The Stryx Europa EUR F fund, managed since 2009 by Christian Diebitsch and launched in October of 2009, is the second strongest performer among the small funds in this list, having returned 61.6% over the past three years.

The fund is run using a highly concentrated portfolio of around 17 stocks, according to data at the end of 2012. Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, medical group Coloplast and French tech firm Dassault Systèmes are among its top holdings.

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Handelsbanken Eurooppa Selective A I

Heading up our list of the best-performing small funds in the European equities sector is the Handelsbanken Eurooppa Selective fund, which like the Handelsbanken Funds Europe Selective A EUR fund listed previously is run by Lars Johansson.

Over the past three years it's returned 61.9%, a figure only topped in the sector by the €628 Allianz Europe Equity Growth fund which is run by Euro Stars AAA-rated Thorsten Winklemann.

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