Only one manager duo hit triple digit returns last year and it was achieved in the unlikeliest of sectors.
Kicking off our list of star performers of 2012 is Eric Kibe of South African group Sanlam Asset Management.
The emerging markets manager has been investing in Africa for over 14 years and during 2012 doubled the performance of his benchmark by posting returns of 40.73% in his Sanlam African Frontier Markets fund.
He follows a value-based, bottom-up approach and runs a concentrated portfolio with over 50% invested in the financial sector. Countries like Nigeria and Egypt feature heavily in his fund.
The fund invests in Eastern European companies while avoiding ones based in Russia. It was launched in October 2008 and all four managers have been running it since inception.
Following a sharp drop in performance in May, the fund shot back up to produce returns almost triple that of its benchmark by year end.
The only UK equity fund to feature in our analysis is run by Edinburgh-based manager David Cumming. He has been running the fund since its inception in March 2009 and is also Standard Life’s head of equities.
It invests predominantly in financials (35.6%) and consumer services (24.8%) with its top holdings including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Vedanta Resources.
Like the two previous managers in our analysis his performance dipped in the summer of 2012 only for him to rise up the profit ladder with returns nearing the 50% mark by December.
The first of three Greek-focused funds in our top performing list is managed by EFG Luxembourg’s Marios Christodoulou who has been running it since it was launched in June 2008.
The Luxembourg-domiciled fund in large and mid cap groups trading on the Athens Stock Exchange and after a period of underperformance overtook its benchmark in April to end the year with returns above 50%.
Christodoulou is also the firm’s head of equities and prior to joining the EFG Group was at Intertrust Asset Management.
The second of our Poland-domiciled funds is this time managed by the Polish office of ING Investment Management.
It invests solely in the emerging Europe financials sector and among its top holdings feature ISBank, Turkish group Turkiye Garanti and Polish bank PKO.
Fifth placed on this list is the Quercus TFI fund, a European equity fund managed by Marek Buczak. It invests mainly in companies from Turkey and the Balkans.
Its main markets are Turkey, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria and was launched in March 2008. The Poland-domiciled fund has consistently outperformed its benchmark over the past year and posted returns of 55.98%.
The €48 million invests in eurozone small and mid cap companies with Germany and France leading its country allocation ranking.
After months hugging its benchmark in 2012, the fund’s performance spiked in October which led Gauthier to outperform the MSCI EM Small Cap index by more than double its rise.
Making his second appearance in our top manager ranking, Christodoulou’s Greek equity fund was launched back in November 2008.
While his other funds focused on large and mid caps, the Flexi Style Greece fund invests primarily in Greek small caps along a value stock selection strategy.
It invests mainly in the banking sector (24%) and its top holdings include Hellenic Telecom, Alpha Bank and Hellenic Petroleum.
2: PYN Elite
In second place, Finnish manager Petri Deryng’s PYN fund achieved returns more than triple that of its benchmark in 2012.
The Finland-domiciled fund can invest across the globe but Deryng’s strategy aims to concentrate investments in one country at a time.
His two top positions, which currently both make up around 19% each of his fund, are Thai property group Sansiri and Thai industrial group Ticon.
The only bond managers to feature in our top ten and to hit triple digit returns, they have been managing the Greek government bond since its inception in March 2009.
The €7.2 million fund invests across a range of durations and its top holding is a Greek government bond with a maturity date spanning to 2033 while one of its longest is to 2037.