e-fundresearch: Which benchmark do you adhere to?
de Fonclare: The FTSE World Europe Index
e-fundresearch: Are you also responsible for other funds at the moment?
de Fonclare: Yes. I look after two strategies – one is pan European and the other is Europe ex UK. Overall I run five mandates.
e-fundresearch: What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds?
de Fonclare: £1bn.
e-fundresearch: Regarding the performance: which performance did you achieve since the beginning of the year and in the years 2003-2008? Absolutely and relatively to the relevant benchmark?
e-fundresearch: How content are you with your own performance in the last years and this year?
de Fonclare: I am happy with last year’s performance as we were able to protect investors’ capital better than many of our competitors and outperformed our benchmark. However, we have been lagging the index so far this year – the quality stocks we own that protected us last year have been penalised this year as the market has been led by companies that are financially and operationally geared into economic recovery. However, we are comfortable with the stocks we are holding as we believe quality will be rewarded over time.
e-fundresearch: How are you able to deliver added value for your investors with your performance?
de Fonclare: Fundamental stock picking.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been a fund manager already?
de Fonclare: Since May 2001.
e-fundresearch: What were your biggest successes and your biggest disappointments in your career as fund manager?
de Fonclare: My biggest success has been my flexible approach, which has enabled me to outperform in both bull and bear market conditions and, to produce strong cumulative returns over time. On the downside, I misjudged the short term impact of the injection of public money into the economy and what this would mean for stock market returns, particularly among the financials.
e-fundresearch: What kind of capital market situation do we have at the moment? How do you act in this environment?
de Fonclare: We are in a momentum, liquidity driven environment. Our strategy is to stick to the fundamentals, looking for companies that can benefit from the current backdrop, without compromising our quality criteria.
e-fundresearch: What are the special challenges in this environment?
de Fonclare: There is a mismatch between the fundamentals of companies and their share prices. We believe that will correct over time.
e-fundresearch: What objectives do you have till the end of the year and in the mid term for the upcoming 3 to 5 years?
de Fonclare: To outperform the benchmark and my peer group.
e-fundresearch: Do you model yourself on someone? Any ideals?
de Fonclare: No. I stick to my own style and don’t get carried away by what is happening elsewhere in the market.
e-fundresearch: What motivates you in your job?
de Fonclare: I learn new things every day. It is particularly exciting meeting good companies that we believe can be winners over the long term.
e-fundresearch:What else do you want to achieve or do you have any further aims as a fund manager?
de Fonclare: To continue adding value as a stock picker over the long term.
e-fundresearch: What other profession would you have taken interest in, apart from becoming a fund manager?
de Fonclare: I would want to be able to apply the skills I have learned of being able to spot the strengths and weaknesses of companies. Maybe I would be a consultant and adviser companies on making the right strategic decisions.