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Ashburton India Equity Opportunities

Elite Rated by FundCalibre

The fund aims to achieve capital growth by investing in Indian companies of all sizes, with a focus on those that treat minority shareholders well. As a single country emerging market fund, it is high-risk, but with the potential for higher returns.

Company Description

Ashburton Investments is the investment management arm of South African financial institution FirstRand Group Ltd, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. High-conviction, concentrated portfolios of around 18 to 30 shares are a feature of the firm. Managers follow an unconstrained approach and are able to leverage the resources of the wider FirstRand Group to offer broad investment capabilities across traditional and non-traditional asset classes, including private equity and credit co-investment opportunities.

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Fund Manager

The fund is managed by a team of three people: chief investment officer Jonathan Schiessl, along with Simon Finch and Craig Farley. Their combined wealth of industry experience enriches the fund and ensures a nuanced and in-depth understanding of the Indian market.

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Travelling in India has become second nature to the team, from queuing to phone home in the 1980s to experiencing the investment opportunities first hand as it became the world’s second largest smartphone market. We truly understand how to unlock more from this growth story.

Jonathan Scheissl - Fund Manager

The Investment Process

The team observe and analyse the economy first and form a view as to which areas offer the best opportunities for growth, quality and value. They then undertake a bottom-up process looking for stocks in those sectors. The managers have little or no regard for the Indian stock market index, which is dominated by large companies, as they believe that smaller stocks offer the strongest growth prospects.

Risk

This is a focused fund of no more than 20 to 30 stocks, but we are comfortable with this short list as the team make sure that there is sufficient diversification in the portfolio across different industries. It is a single country, multi-cap fund that is heavily dependent on the Indian economy, and will be volatile as a result. Investors should also be aware of the currency risk.

Our Opinion

The performance of this fund has been excellent and validates the investment process. The experienced team has shown that holding a smaller number of stocks can work well and achieve diversification. We like the managers’ prioritisation on investing in companies that treat their shareholders properly. In our opinion, there is no reason why this fund should not continue to deliver solid returns for investors.

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