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Turnaround stars: most improved managers of 2012 revealed

We reveal the managers who turned their performance around in 2012, rocketing up our rankings across all asset classes.

Fund: La Aktien Index Plus Anteilklasse A

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 383/649
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 5/642

Sector: Mixed Asset EUR flex Global

Kicking off our list of 2012's turnaround stars is Ansgar Klatte of Frankfurt-based Lupus alpha.

Over 2012 his La Aktien Index Plus Anteilklasse fund posted a return of almost 20%, double that of the LCI Mixed Asset EUR Bal - Global benchmark.

Klatte uses a wide range of derivatives to deliver capital growth and income. At the end of May, 45.5% of the fund's bond holdings had a duration of under a year, and some 61% of the holdings were German.

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Fund: Conventum - Lyrical Fund I

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 406/411
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 1/400

Sector: US equity

Rising 405 places in the rankings puts Banque de Luxembourg's Andrew Wellington in ninth place this year.

In 2012 his Conventum - Lyrical Fund returned almost 14%, missing the benchmark's return, but he produced a creditable performance in the second half of 2012 after a shaky period over the summer.

Wellington seeks out undervalued securities, with a focus on US equities. No more than 10% of the fund is invested in any one industry. At the end of December the biggest single holding, at 3.5% of the portfolio, was in Nasdaq-listed e-commerce group Liberty Interactive.

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Fund: Absolutissimo Fund - Value Focus Fund P

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 441/649
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 1/642

Sector: Mixed Asset EUR flex Global

Frank Fischer's rising standing in the mixed asset sector sees him claim eighth place.

His Absolutissimo Fund - Value Focus Fund, part of Axxion's stable, leapt ahead of its benchmark towards the end of last year, delivering a 36% return over 2012.

Fischer invests in both equities and debt, and may have as much as half of his fund's portfolio given over to real estate funds or alternative investments.

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Fund: Aviva Fonvalor Euro B, FI

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 569/649
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 8/642

Sector: Mixed Asset EUR flex Global

Alfonso Benito's work on the Aviva Fonvalor Euro B, FI fund has seen him rise 561 places over the course of 2012.

Although it had an inauspicious start to the year, which saw it down more than 5% in May, it kicked up sharply as Christmas neared, posting a total return of almost 15% by the end of 2012.

At the end of September 42% of the fund was invested in equities, with 29% in bonds and 19% in cash.

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Fund: Quadrant European Equity

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 603/701
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 5/682

Sector: Equity Europe

Co-managers Allan Gibbins and Howard Smith raced up the rankings over 2012.

Their Quadrant European Equity fund ended up almost 24% ahead of where it started, significantly outperforming its benchmark.

The fund typically has a bias towards the industrials sector, and at the end of November this made up 22.8% of the portfolio, with financials the next biggest sector, accounting for 15.8%. Government-controlled Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil is the biggest single holding, accounting for 5.3% of the fund.

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Fund: Fairassetmanagementfunds Flexible B

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 645/649
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 2/642

Sector: Mixed Asset EUR flex Global

Swen Lorenz's 643-place rise lands him in fifth place in our roundup of 2012's turnaround stars.

His Fairassetmanagementfunds Flexible fund experienced some big ups and downs last year, initially storming ahead of its benchmark, then dipping more than 10% in May before ending up with a 6.7% return for the year.

Fairassetmanagementfunds Flexible is a mixed-asset fund that can invest in equities and equity-like paper in OECD countries. Luxembourg-based holdings account for 37% of the fund.

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Fund: ESPA STOCK EUROPE-VALUE T

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 656/701
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 4/682

Sector: Equity Europe

The fourth-biggest riser in our rankings over 2012 is Erste Sparinvest's Franz Kisser.

His ESPA STOCK EUROPE-VALUE fund offered an exaggerated version of the FTSE World Europe benchmark over 2012, dipping slightly further than the index in the summer before outpacing its revival towards the end of the year.

As much as 10% of the fund may be invested in mutual funds, and at the end of September the three biggest holdings were in French industrial giant Lafarge, pharmaceutical company Sanofi and Swiss-based building materials company Holcim.

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Fund: MFM Quanteviour European Equities (EUR) I

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 663/701
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 2/682

Sector: Equity Europe

The manager duo of Giuseppe Mirante and Markus Bossard claim the bronze medal, having stormed up the rankings an impressive 661 places.

Their MFM Quanteviour European Equities fund followed a similar trajectory to the ESPA fund in the previous slide, eventually delivering a 22.3% return over the course of 2012.

The duo's stock picking is based on behavioural finance, which seeks to identify stocks that have been temporarily over or undervalued by the market. A holding in French insurance giant AXA is the single biggest holding, accounting for 6.5% of the fund at the end of December.

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Fund: Seligson & Co Phoenix

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 875/1147
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 8/1117

Sector: Equity Global

2012's second biggest riser in the rankings is Peter Seligson, based on the performance of his special situations Seligson & Co Phoenix fund.

The fund posted a 23.9% return over the course of the year, offering a magnified version of the FTSE World index's ups and downs.

At the end of 2012 the fund's top investment regions were the US (25%), the eurozone (21%) and the UK (12%). The single biggest holding, accounting for 9% of the portfolio, was in wine producer Australian Vintage.

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Fund: 1. SICAV European Advice Equities AI1

  • Ranking 31 December 2011 to 30 June 2011: 1044/1147
  • Ranking 30 June 2011 to 31 December 2012: 1/1117

Sector: Equity Global

Racing up the ratings a highly impressive 1,043 places over 2012 means Ken Grossman is the biggest riser in our annual rankings.

His SICAV European Advice Equities AI1 fund got back on track last year, significantly outperforming the FTSE World index. However, its three-year figures don't look so good, with its 15.5% return far below the benchmark's 34% rise.

At the end of December 29% of the fund was invested in European equities, 15% was in UK equities and 12% was in international equities.

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Related Fund Managers

Swen Lorenz
Swen Lorenz
477/556 in Mixed Assets - Flexible EUR (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 9.30%
Alfonso Benito
Alfonso Benito
5/556 in Mixed Assets - Flexible EUR (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 79.75%
Frank Fischer
Frank Fischer
6/556 in Mixed Assets - Flexible EUR (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 78.71%
Peter Seligson
Peter Seligson
52/1133 in Equity - Global Equities (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 65.44%
Allan Gibbins
Allan Gibbins
1055/1199 in Equity - North America (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 40.80%
Andrew Wellington
Andrew Wellington
15/1199 in Equity - North America (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 93.20%
Howard Smith
Howard Smith
436/543 in Equity - Europe (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 47.44%
Ken Grossman
Ken Grossman
Giuseppe Mirante
Giuseppe Mirante
Markus Bossard
Markus Bossard
Franz Kisser
Franz Kisser
Ansgar Klatte
Ansgar Klatte
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