Performance Review 2006Jan Peterhans & Thomas Angermann: "By the end of 2006, markets continued their upward trend and ended close to a five year high. Mergers and acquisitions were part of what drove markets higher as companies’ cash levels were high and borrowing costs were low. On a sector level, positive contribution came from the overweight in Healthcare, Telecommunications, Technology and Oil&Gas and our underweight in Consumer Goods. Valuation spreads had narrowed and looked tight in historical terms. Top holdings in the fund included: Fresenius Medical Care, Genmab, Investor and Banca Pop. Italiana.
Benchmark was Dow Jones Stoxx Mid 200.
Performance Review 2007
Jan Peterhans: "By the end of 2007, there was increasing evidence of a slowdown for the coming year with industrial production and orders generally showing signs of weakness. Greater weaknesses in the US housing and labour markets were emerging. The stock universe showed higher volatility at the end of the year. The fund ended the period being overweight healthcare, consumer staples and information technology stocks. The largest underweight included consumer discretionary and financials stocks. Top holdings in the fund included: Fresenius Medical Care, Gerresheimer, Wood Group and Bureau Veritas.
Benchmark was Dow Jones Stoxx Mid 200."
Performance Review 2008
Pascal Boeuf & Jan Peterhans: "European equity markets were significantly under pressure in 2008, with the credit crisis leading to the downfall of major financial institutions and to government interventions. The mid cap universe underperformed the larger cap peer group with the substantial slowdown of the global economy.
The fund performed inline with its benchmark. Our overweight position in pharmaceuticals and underweight in financials contributed positively to our relative performance, whereas the overweight positions in materials and energy were negative contributors to this performance. Top holdings at the end of the period included: Syngenta, TGS Nopec, Vopak and Bilfinger Berger.
Benchmark was changed from Dow Jones Stoxx Mid 200 to MSCI European Mid Cap Index in Oct. 2008."
Performance Review 2009
Pascal Boeuf: "European Mid Cap Equity markets experienced a very strong rebound during the period. By the end of this period, most major European economies were out of recession. High fiscal deficits however remained a constraint on medium to long term growth and the high level of the Euro continued to impact exports out of the Eurozone. M&A activity, which was at a cyclical low level, started to increase, which proves beneficial to this stock universe. The fund outperformed the MSCI European Mid Cap benchmark. The fund was well positioned to benefit from the strong rise in cyclical and financial stocks throughout this timeframe and at the end of the period was broadly balanced between sectors offering compelling long term valuations, such as healthcare and some individual cyclical stocks particularly in financials and industrials, where a further recovery in earnings was identified. Top holdings at the end of the period included: SGS Holding, G4S, Telenet and Smiths Group.
Benchmark was MSCI European Mid Cap Index."
Performance Review 2010
Pascal Boeuf: "European mid cap companies showed a consolidation phase in the first half of the year and the second half was marked by a substantial year end rally. The fund recorded a significant outperformance of its benchmark over this period, with a very strong fourth quarter to the year. M&A recovered to more normal levels and the fund benefited from holdings a number of takeover targets. Our bottom-up stock selection process started to lead us to more pronounced country over- or underweights than in the past. At the end of the period the fund, in terms of sector positions, was overweight capital goods, healthcare and IT and underweight banks, insurance and media.
Top holdings at the end of the period included: Exor, Rhodia, TUI and Pirelli.
Benchmark was MSCI European Mid Cap Index."
Performance 2011 - Year-to-Date
Pascal Boeuf: "The year to date has been marked by uncertainties in the Eurozone and US, which in turn have provided for a volatile market environment since the summer period. Our bottom-up stock selection process continues to lead us to more pronounced country over- or underweights than in the past. Most significant country overweights include Germany and Norway. Underweights include UK and France. M&A has slowed during this period of high uncertainties but is likely to pick up further once macro issues become less dominating, supported by strong balance sheets of corporates, attractive valuation levels and a more pressing search for growth. The European Mid Cap universe should further benefit from takeover approaches, as in the case of Autonomy in August of this year.
Top holdings at the end of the October 2011 include: Encore Oil, Lenzing, Pearson and Kon. DSM
Benchmark was MSCI European Mid Cap Index."
Performance since 2006
Pascal Boeuf (Jan Peterhans & Thomas Angermann): "The fund outperformed its benchmark over this period, in both strong and weak equity market environments. Over this timeframe the investment process remained unchanged. The Fund achieved throughout this period diversification by investing across a broad mix of stocks & sectors to give the investor an optimized risk/return profile."
Investment Process and Strategy – How does the Fund Manager invest?
Pascal Boeuf: "The Portfolio is constructed primarily from the bottom-up utilising both in-house and external research sources. The combination of these mutually independent information sources provides the portfolio managers with a complete picture of the anomalies and opportunities in the market within a manageable framework, allowing him to make a balanced investment decision that limits the potential downside risk of the portfolio. Industry allocations are based on a blend of bottom-up and top-down research. Risk management is an integral part of the portfolio investment process.
The research process encompasses both quantitative and qualitative assessments including assessment of management and core competencies of the business.
As part of the investment process, original fundamental research is the most important input. A key part of this is our program of meeting with company management, their competitors and suppliers and other sources of information. Information gained from these meetings generates investment insights and enables us to more accurately value these companies using our price / intrinsic value process. The team meets more than 600 companies a year, which provides for excellent information gathering, direct insights and a strong foundation for our evaluation work.
The strategy of the fund is primarily focused on the European mid-cap universe and achieves diversification by investing across a broad mix of stocks and sectors to give the investor an optimized risk/return profile. The concentrated portfolio is actively managed and reflects the highest conviction ideas from the small- and mid-cap team."
Pascal Boeuf: "Mid-cap fundamentals look compelling and long-term earnings growth potential remain solid for the established niche players which combine a high degree of innovation with the necessary flexibility, that the current times of macro uncertainties demand. The fund will continue to focus on emerging businesses that are to sooner or later likely to turn into future leaders. Discrepancies between market price and intrinsic value arise from market behaviour and market structure providing opportunities to outperform. The most common behavioural errors involve over-reaction to short-term noise and under-reaction to structural change. Our price/intrinsic value approach supports our ability to maintain discipline in the face of short-term noise and is forward looking so as to incorporate structural change and key trends. The current market environment of higher levels of uncertainty, emotions and share price volatility is hence, in our opinion, advantageous and is leading to an attractive breadth of investment opportunities across sectors.
We believe that market volatility will remain at higher levels over the next couple of years. Economic cycles are likely to be shorter than in the past decades and regional differences are likely to become more dominant. In general, mid caps as a result, with more flexibility operationally and more focused business models, should perform better than their large cap peer group.
M&A is likely to increase again in a calmer market environment and mid caps often benefit from acquisition bids by larger peers. Strong balance sheets, attractive valuations and the search for growth provide grounds for this belief."