e-fundresearch: Which benchmark do you adhere to?
Blaabjerg: Merrill Lynch Global High Yield (EUR Hedged).
e-fundresearch: Are you also responsible for other funds at the moment?
Blaabjerg: Sparinvest Investment Grade Value Bonds.
e-fundresearch: What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds?
Blaabjerg: 500 million Euros.
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?
Blaabjerg: Returns - Month End, Aug-2009
e-fundresearch: How content are you with your own performance in the last years and this year?
Blaabjerg: Very content – we have delivered what was to be expected. Fewer defaults and our Value style has started to outperform.
e-fundresearch: How are you able to deliver added value for your investors with your performance?
Blaabjerg: We deliver added value by buying high yielding bonds from companies whose balance sheets are strong but whose prospects are undervalued by the market, meaning that we have been able to buy cheaply. Over the past 3 years, we have preserved capital through lower default activity in our portfolio, and since the start of this year, investors have seen the benefit of our ‘Value Bonds’ strategy. Despite strong recent performance, we still offer our investors a very cheap High Yield Portfolio.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been a fund manager already?
Blaabjerg: Since December 2000.
e-fundresearch: What were your biggest successes and your biggest disappointments in your career as fund manager?
Blaabjerg: Biggest success is that the two funds I have managed prior to joining Sparinvest each received 5 stars in Morningstar. I can’t remember the biggest disappointment, but I will be very disappointed if Sparinvest High Yield Value Bonds is not 5-star rated with Morningstar two years from now.
e-fundresearch: What kind of capital market situation do we have at the moment? How do you act in this environment?
Blaabjerg: This is the sweet spot for High Yield – businesses have the right attitude (they look to reduce debt) and growth/earnings are coming back up. We try actively to participate through investing in businesses that are reducing debt either through free cash flow or from issuance of new shares. And still have strong balance sheets and/or solid asset values compared to liabilities.
e-fundresearch: What are the special challenges in this environment?
Blaabjerg: It’s dangerous in my opinion to get too relaxed about risk as the beta rally continues. Because risk is still around.
e-fundresearch: What objectives do you have until the end of the year and in the mid term for the upcoming 3 to 5 years?
Blaabjerg: We want to finish a great year in style! In terms of the next 3 to 5 years we want 5 stars in the Morningstar Universe.
e-fundresearch: Do you model yourself on someone? Any idols?
Blaabjerg: No idols! – I want to be the best at what I do, which is managing a High Yield Fund. And I want to keep both feet on the ground and not run around with arms in the air!
e-fundresearch: What motivates you in your job?
Blaabjerg: The great diversity and the possibility to think for hours on specific aspects of our portfolio. Also I am very competitively minded – so I like the possibility to compete with other funds.
e-fundresearch: What else do you want to achieve or do you have any further aims as a fund manager?
Blaabjerg: I would like our fund and also our sister fund on the equity side to be known for outstanding results – and to have happy clients come back to us and trusting us!
e-fundresearch: What other profession would you have taken interest in, apart from becoming a fund manager?
Blaabjerg: Being a farmer.
e-fundresearch: Thank you for the interview!