More pain to come for investors?
This week, FundCalibre held its annual investment dinner for financial journalists. Speaking at the...
UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 is into its last week, and records have been broken left, right and centre.
A crowd of 68,871 turned out to watch hosts England edge a 1-0 win against Austria in the opening game and, at the half-way point of the tournament, attendance records had already surpassed the total number set at the 2017 final in the Netherlands*. England’s semi-final against Sweden also drew a record crowd of 28,624**.
Thoughts are turning to who might lift the trophy, with England’s Lionesses now 8/11 favourites to win***.
And coach Sarina Wiegman is not afraid of making changes to her team, as we saw in the quarterfinals when she took off England women’s all-time leading goal scorer Ellen White, the tournament’s top goal scorer Beth Mead, and experienced forward Fran Kirby. It proved to be an inspirational move, reigniting the energy in the team, and resulting in victory.
Picking the best individual players does not always make the best team for a particular match – you need to find a balance and be prepared for changing conditions.
With this in mind, we thought it would be fun to apply this to the investment arena, with 11 of our favourite female fund managers.
For some excitement up front, we would start with JPM China Growth & Income. This trust invests in companies which are quoted on the stock exchanges of Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Co-manager Rebecca Jiang believes valuations are compelling today and that the Chinese market is particularly interesting in the current global environment because of the counter cyclicity of both the economic and policy conditions. You can hear more of her thoughts on this video interview.
In support you could consider Kirsty Desson’s ASI Global Smaller Companies and Rosemary Banyard’s VT Downing Unique Opportunities funds. The former is a textbook fund from the abrdn equities team. Kirsty identifies smaller companies from all around the globe – including emerging markets – that she believes to have the best growth prospects.
Launched in 2020, the Downing fund is a multi-cap UK equity fund run. Rosemary has spent more than 30 years in the investment industry, as both an analyst and a fund manager, and has a well-defined process looking for companies that have sustained competitive advantages, with low debt and good management teams.
A good midfield is crucial. It’s the area of the pitch where creativity stems, where defence transitions into attack. These play makers need control, vision, stamina, and experience.
So, my first choice here would be Clare Hart’s JPM US Equity Income. This is a core equity income holding investing in the world’s largest stock market. The manager keeps an astute eye on risk management, with a diverse spread of names to ensure a stable, above-market yield. Over the past year, the fund has returned more than 13.3% in challenging markets, while its average peer has returned 1.3%****.
Along-side you could have Alexandra Jackson’s Rathbone UK Opportunities, a flexible fund targeting quality growth businesses. Alexandra looks to take advantage of cheap UK valuations and combines structural winners with a strong core of high-quality compounders, with a bias to mid-cap stocks.
AXA Framlington Japan invests in Japanese companies of varying sizes but tends to have a slight bias towards smaller ones. The manager looks at firms with long-term growth prospects which are independent of short-term news flow or what is going on in the wider economy.
Ninety One Global Environment is a global equities fund that includes emerging markets, but which has a unique approach of only investing in companies that are contributing to the decarbonisation of the world economy.
In goal I’d opt for BlackRock European Absolute Alpha which is co-managed by Stephanie Bothwell. This long/short fund has done its job in the difficult markets of late, returning 3.5% over the past year vs -0.5% for its average peer****.
Stephanie told us more about the benefits of being able to use long and short positions to manage investment risk, as well as how the portfolio has protected investors in what has been a very uncertain start to the year, in this recent podcast:
Other defensive assets could include M&G Emerging Markets Bond fund run by Claudia Calich, Baillie Gifford Strategic Bond which is co-managed by Lesley Dunn and Artemis Corporate Bond which has co-manager Grace Le at the helm.
While all fixed income assets have had a difficult 2022, the outlook is starting to improve. Valuations are better and income levels are looking more attractive.
M&G Emerging Markets Bond has the flexibility to in both government and corporate bonds, denominated in local currencies or in the US dollar. The manager uses her vast skill set to analyse the macroeconomic environment and individual companies, to pick what she believes to be the best mix of bonds for this portfolio.
Baillie Gifford Strategic Bond gives investors access to a concentration of primarily UK fixed income securities, from both the investment grade and high yield segments of the market. Unlike other peers, the managers aim to add value almost exclusively through their stock-picking prowess and do not aggressively manage the interest rate exposure.
The managers of Artemis Corporate Bond fund take a long-term strategic and thematic view but will also take advantage of short-term opportunities when they present themselves. They combine strong analysis of both the wider macroeconomic picture, and close examination of the fundamentals of corporate bonds, to produce a portfolio designed to weather any economic climate.
*Source: UEFA.com, 21 July 2022
***Source: Skybet, 27 July 2022
****Source: FE fundinfo, total returns in sterling, one year to 21 July 2022