Performance Review 2006
Performance Review 2007
Ben Moyer: "The fund outperformed its benchmark, a customised Asia Pacific index. This was due to a combination of strong asset allocation among countries and good stock selection.
The large overweights in China and India were particularly beneficial as both markets outperformed on the back of strong economic growth. This was partly offset by an underweight in Hong Kong. The fund’s top performers were drawn from energy and commodities. Japanese healthcare stocks detracted, as the markets eschewed defensives."
Performance Review 2008
Ben Moyer (until 1 Sep. 2008), then management was assumed by Rob Weatherston and Nick Scott: "The fund’s management was transferred from the US to Asia in Q3 2008 as Rob Weatherston and Nick Scott took over from Ben Moyer. At this time, the benchmark was changed from a customised index to the MSCI Asia Pacific index.
The fund underperformed the new, spliced benchmark in what was a difficult market for Asia Pacific equities. Both geographical asset allocation and stock selection detracted. Stock selection within China was beneficial, however our overweight here detracted as investors reined in their risk appetite."
Performance Review 2009
Rob Weatherston and Nick Scott: "The fund posted strong gains in 2009, although it underperformed the benchmark. This was due primarily to asset allocation among countries and sectors, as stock selection remained beneficial.
India did well following a surprisingly positive outcome to national elections and our underweight, based on what we believed to be overly optimistic valuations, detracted. Stock selection was very strong within Japan. Our positions in Chinese/HK property were also helpful."
Performance Review 2010
Rob Weatherston and Nick Scott: "The fund underperformed the index in 2010. Stock selection was again positive, particularly so within Japan. However ultimately the underweight in the ASEAN block detracted, as it outperformed the North Asian export-driven markets in an uncertain environment for global trade. This began to reverse in the fourth quarter, when the fund began to benefit from its tilt towards Korea and Taiwan."
Performance since 2006
Investment Process and Strategy – How does the Fund Manager Invest?
Rob Weatherston: "Our investment philosophy is value-biased, based on the belief that a longer-term, fundamentals-driven process can exploit market inefficiencies driven by short-term swings in sentiment.
Stock ideas are uncovered via proprietary screens, company visits and the selective use of broker research. We undertake our own research on every company we consider for investment. Research is comprised on a qualitative element, where we consider how good the company is, and a quantitative element, where we identify the company’s value and asses what expectations are embedded in the current share price.
Portfolios are constructed using BlackRock’s strong risk analysis resources. We concentrate on bottom-up stock selection, matching the manager’s conviction in a stock with its contribution to the portfolio’s risk. We also look to add value through asset allocation among countries and sectors."
Rob Weatherston (assumed control as sole manager in January 2011):
- We have a positive outlook for Asia Pacific equities. A gradual improvement in US and European fundamentals and an expansion in global demand provide reasons for optimism
- This increase in Western demand, on top of robust domestic consumption, will stretch capacity utilisation and may feed inflationary pressures in the short-term. Tightening interest rates may provide a headwind to equities.
- This is particularly so in China, which is attempting to walk a tightrope between encouraging strong growth whilst controlling prices. As always, they will remain acutely sensitive to any signs of social instability or unrest.
- Loose liquidity and low interest rates are beneficial for Asian equities generally.
- We are aligning the portfolio with our positive outlook for the global growth and demand in the near term, whilst also accumulating positions in longer-term structural themes.
- Korea is our largest geographic overweight. Korean equities are at undemanding valuations and provide a strong play on improving global fundamentals. Leading indicators are suggesting a favourable outlook for Korean equities.
- We are underweight the ASEAN bloc, as investors continue to rotate into North Asia.
- We are also underweight Japan, despite cheap valuation and sound corporate fundamentals. Whilst it should enjoy greater export demand, an appreciating currency will erode much of the benefits, relative to Taiwan and Korea.
- At a sector level, our broadly positive outlook is reflected in a tilt towards industrials, materials and technology. We are underweight the more defensive sectors such as telecommunications, utilities and consumer staples.
- We are looking to take advantage of longer-term structural changes, such as the automation and of Chinese manufacturing and the expansion of Indian infrastructure."