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The IA Asian funds at the top of their sectors time and time again

20 July 2023

In the Asian/Pacific region, Japan stands out for its consistency of returns.

By Matteo Anelli,

Reporter, Trustnet

Funds in the IA Japan sector have been among the top performers of the past decade for rolling returns, data from FinXL shows.

Looking at monthly rolling returns from 2013 to today and counting how frequently in percentage terms a particular fund has been in the top quartile of its peers in each of the 120 months taken into account, Trustnet was able to establish which vehicles that focus on the Asia/Pacific region have been particularly consistent and fruitful for investors.

Below, we highlight those that have been in the first quartile of performance at least 60% of the time.

Spending 83.3% of the past 10 years at the top of the IA Japan sector, FTF Martin Currie Japan Equity is crowned best Asian fund of the decade for rolling returns.

Performance of fund over 10yrs and year-to-date against sector

Source: FE Analytics

Despite the successful long-term track record, the fund has struggled this year, distancing itself from the rest of its sector, as the chart above illustrates.

The £323.1m strategy invests in Japanese companies of any size, industry or market capitalisation, with a bias towards growing smaller and mid-sized businesses. It currently holds 37 stocks, focussing on the industrials, consumer products and healthcare sectors, which together make up 71.2% of the whole portfolio.

Run by Hideo Shiozumi for the majority of the past decade, following his retirement earlier this year Singapore-based Paul Danes took charge of the historically volatile portfolio.

JPM Japan and Baillie Gifford Japanese complete the list of Japanese funds for rolling returns.

The former is managed by a Tokyo-based team of bottom-up stock pickers who look for structural growth trends within the Tokyo Stock Price (Topix) index. The fund is a concentrated portfolio with a high active share and low turnover approach.

The latter, run by Matthew Brett, also focuses on identifying growth companies of all sizes, but investments are conviction-led – a strong selling point according to Square Mile analysts.

Source: FinXL

“The clear upside to such an approach is that the longer-term time horizon is different to that of many other Japanese equity investors, while the quality of the team members' skills provides them with a fine platform from which to identify attractively priced Japanese securities,” they said.

“We believe this fund to be a stand out proposition from its peers and one that should definitely be considered by investors considering a long­-term allocation to Japanese equities.”

The second-best performance overall, with a 80.8% top-quartile permanence rate, was achieved by Baillie Gifford Pacific from the IA Asia Pacific Excluding Japan sector.

Source: FinXL

This FE fundinfo five-Crown rated fund is co-managed by Roderick Snell and Ben Durrant without any index or sector constraints. Its main holdings include 50 to 100 Chinese names (34.3%), Indian companies (19.8%) and South Korean (12.7%) stocks. It is predominantly focused on small- and mid-sized companies with growth prospects.

Another five-Crown fund stood out: Jupiter Merian Asia Pacific. Square Mile analysts recommended the fund in most market e_


This article is the last instalment of a series on rolling returns. Previously, we covered IA UK All Companies, IA European, IA Global, IA Smaller Companies and the IA Mixed Investment sectors.

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Data provided by FE fundinfo. Care has been taken to ensure that the information is correct, but FE fundinfo neither warrants, represents nor guarantees the contents of information, nor does it accept any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any inconsistencies herein. Past performance does not predict future performance, it should not be the main or sole reason for making an investment decision. The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise.