e-fundresearch: Which benchmark do you adhere to?
Williams: HSBC Europe ex UK Large Cap.
e-fundresearch: Are you also responsible for other funds at the moment?
Williams: Apart from Europe Select, a global Small Cap Fund ex U.S. is managed for North American investors.
e-fundresearch: What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds?
Williams: Ca. 480 mn 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?
Williams: 2009 saw a fund return of 48.34% vs. 54.75 of the index.
2003-2008 was 89.42% vs. 60,65% for the benchmark .
(source: Morningstar Direct)
e-fundresearch: How content are you with your own performance in the last years and this year?
Williams: The investment strategy has proven to work well since the taking over of the fund as quartile placements illustrate. There have not been any amendment to the strategy in that time period with regards to selection, turn over, etc.
Last year saw an underperformance which is acceptable as low-quality stocks were the reason for the market outperformers.
e-fundresearch: How are you able to deliver added value for your investors with your performance?
Williams: The fund seeks to avoid illiquid or low quality stocks and invest into stocks that bear outperformance potential. At the same time volatility is a measure that is very important.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been a fund manager already?
Williams: European equites for 16 years, European Smaller Companies for 13.
e-fundresearch: What were your biggest successes and your biggest disappointments in your career as fund manager?
Williams: Disappointments: diverse conditions a previous company provided to manage a fund.
Success: the track record of Baring Europe Select.
e-fundresearch: What kind of capital market situation do we have at the moment? How do you act in this environment?
Williams: Value destroyers outperformed last year; generally the environment was not ideal for Bottom Up Stock picking. We however saw a change in the market and growth stocks have begun to outperform, yet there is still further outperformance potential. In gereal we expect a slow but positive growth in Europe at relatively low volatility levels – both are good conditions for European Smaller Companies.
e-fundresearch: What are the special challenges in this environment?
Williams: The market is recovering from an extreme situation and a few question marks still remain, promting the need to take surprises into consideration.
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?
Williams: To continue to beat the market and at the same time deliver a good information ratio by outperforming Smaller Companies in uprise markets and outperforming Slammer Companies and Blue Chips in bear markets
e-fundresearch: Do you model yourself on someone? Any ideals?
e-fundresearch: What motivates you in your job?
Williams: competitive character and enjoying learning.
e-fundresearch: What else do you want to achieve or do you have any further aims as a fund manager?
Williams: further aims = just out performance with strong risk management.
e-fundresearch: What other profession would you have taken interest in, apart from becoming a fund manager?
Williams: writer/tennis player/astronomer/forester.
e-fundresearch: Thank you for the interview!