e-fundresearch: Which benchmark do you adhere to?
Fiejka: MSCI Emerging Markets Europe and Middle East 10/40.
e-fundresearch: Are you also responsible for other funds at the moment?
e-fundresearch: What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds?
Fiejka: € 717m (end August 2010).
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?
Fiejka: We are happy with performance this year, which is still strong despite underperformance in August and September. Our performance is strong over most periods against the benchmark and our peers – we are top quartile against Morningstar peers over the year to date, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.
e-fundresearch: How are you able to deliver added value for your investors with your performance?
Fiejka: We are pragmatic investors and take our inputs from a variety of sources. We do not have hard and fast rules governing selection but we do have a defined process. We have a flexible ‘GARP’ approach to investing, which helps through different market conditions. We are not afraid to back our convictions in good times but, similarly, we will actively reduce risk when the market outlook is more uncertain. We consider the inputs of the top-down and bottom-up analysis. We believe that our process is robust, transparent, repeatable and time-tested, and that it should outperform the benchmark in most investment environments. We are firm believers in fundamental analysis as the best way of adding value.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been a fund manager already?
Fiejka: Since 1997.
e-fundresearch: What were your biggest successes and your biggest disappointments in your career as fund manager?
Fiejka: I am very happy with the five year track record of the Pioneer Emerging Europe and Mediterranean fund.
The markets are a source of daily frustration and there is always a stock that one wished one had included or excluded in the portfolio but the really trying periods come when one´s investment style is not working.
e-fundresearch: What kind of capital market situation do we have at the moment? How do you act in this environment?
Fiejka: The short-term outlook is slightly uncertain given the relatively weak sentiment and exogenous threats such as recent soft data in the US and budgetary issues in Europe. As such we have become more defensive by raising cash levels. Our longer-term outlook is of sub-par global recovery and consequently low global interest rates and a weak US dollar. This will be a favourable environment for emerging European equities. We can, however, expect occasional counter trades in the US dollar and periods of rising risk aversion because of credit events, such as the recent crises in Dubai and Greece. We try to hedge these risks by being underweight in the Materials sector, which will be hurt by a stronger US dollar, and avoiding bank exposure in economies prone to credit problems, such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Baltic countries and Hungary.
e-fundresearch: What are the special challenges in this environment?
Fiejka: The outlook is volatile and markets can move quickly. We are focused on the medium and long term and need to keep this in mind when going through short-term turbulence. We have to have faith in our judgements and analysis, which can be difficult if you suffer short periods of underperformance.
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?
Fiejka: In the near term, we need to keep up the good performance this year. In the long run we need to keep evolving the portfolio so that it continues to meet the needs of emerging market investors that are primarily interested in high rates of capital growth. For that reason, we will be looking for more investments in the countries in North Africa and Middle East as this is where we see the highest growth potential in the future.
e-fundresearch: Do you model yourself on someone? Any ideals?
Fiejka: My best teacher in finance was Professor William Silber from New York University. His enthusiasm for the subject was infectious and his 2007 book "When Washington Shut Down Wall Street" about the financial crisis of 1914 provides some good insights about the current crisis and its consequences.
e-fundresearch: What motivates you in your job?
Fiejka: It is the curiosity about what will happen next and how the companies and countries that I follow will evolve. This is a source of constant debate on the markets and seeing what actually happens makes fund management a fascinating job.
e-fundresearch: What else do you want to achieve or do you have any further aims as a fund manager?
Fiejka: I wish to keep expanding my investment universe in order to help to evolve the fund in new directions.
e-fundreserach: What other profession would you have taken interest in, apart from becoming a fund manager?
Fiejka: I would choose private equity as it requires a combination of investment skills and management acumen, and thus opens an opportunity to actively participate in the real economy.
e-fundresearch: Thank you for the interview!