Emerging markets: Fund stars ride out the storm
A select group of emerging market equity fund managers is aiming to do something different – outperform developed markets in a prolonged global downturn. Staying clear of the crowd will be crucial to success. Chloe Hayward profiles seven leading investors and asks where they will make money in 2009.
ALLAN CONWAY, HEAD of global emerging market equities at Schroders, is nervous. "We’re worried about China. Everyone is overweight China," he says. "It’s the lottery of a fund manager – you’re worried if your picks are with the consensus because it’s a stale trade, but you are also worried if you are out on a limb and maybe you have missed something everyone else has seen," he says. Unlike Conway, Jonathan Asante, head of global emerging market equities at First State, is playing the lottery and is underweight China. Indeed, his Global Emerging Market Leaders Fund seems happy to avoid the crowd altogether. Last year, Angus Tulloch, the veteran emerging market investment manager from First State who reported record returns of 446%, stepped aside and handed the reins over to Asante. After joining First State in 2004 from Axa Framlington, Asante impressed Tulloch. Now Asante hopes to show his peers just why Tulloch has so much faith in his singular approach.
While fund managers JPMorgan, Schroders and Gartmore state the numerous merits of Petrobras, Asante makes a strong case against the Brazilian jewel in nearly everyone else’s crown: "We have barely any money in resources and energy – we took that down at the end of 2007," he says.