Performance Review 2006
Performance Review 2007
Hans van de Weg: "The Fund underperformed the market in 2007 as we were under-exposed to the cyclical areas of the European equity market. These group of stocks were relatively "loved" already as determined by our proprietary stock screen (relative P/E, relative P/B, relative dividend yield, the total return over the last 3 years versus the market, the percentage of buy recommendations versus the total number of sell side analyst recommendations).
On top of that DCF-assumptions from our fundamental Corporate Analyst team on sales and margins had to be aggressive both in size and time length to justify attractive positive expected returns for these economically sensitive parts of the market already back in early 2007. From a bottom up point of view therefore the number of attractive contrarian low expectation stocks within the cyclical parts of the European universe was relatively low in 2007. The biggest risk of being a contrarian investor is that you buy and sell too early and exactly that led to underperformance in 2007."
Performance Review 2008
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Hans van de Weg: "In 2008, the absolute performance was hurt by the forced sell-off in small caps but we profited relatively from not having significant global economic cycle exposure as was explained in our comments about 2007. At the end of 2008 the picture was different from the year before because at that moment in time, due to the relentless sell off, many unloved and undervalued stocks were to be found within sectors like Materials, Industrials to which the contrarian portfolio was tilted gradually."
Performance Review 2009
Hans van de Weg: "In 2009 we reaped in full the fruits of our fundamental bottom up valuation analysis based on our gradual ‘return to trust’ mean reversion scenario. 90% Of the strong active 2009 return came from contrarian stock picking within sectors and the performance was well spread over many stocks."
Performance Review 2010
Hans van de Weg: "In 2010 we outperformed due to successful stock picking in an environment dominated by limited visibility and therefore short term orientation of market participants. In 2010, Growth as a style out-performed Value in Europe by around 1400 bps. Long term mean reversion of low expectation stocks without positive earnings momentum did not produce positive alpha in 2010. Short term mean reversion was a positive source of alpha for the portfolio."
Performance 2011 - Year-to-Date
Hans van de Weg: "During 2011, initially, in the first three months of the year, there was strong mean reversion happening within European Equity markets. After that, during the second and third quarter, fundamental stock picking partly on the basis of for example price to book, faced headwinds due to the focus of the markets on growth related factors. Due to the top down driven equity markets, correlations have shot up to levels sometimes even higher than during the 2008 crisis. High correlations are expected to come down over time but remain a short term struggle for stock pickers as market participants do not differentiate between stocks."
Performance since 2006
Investment Process and Strategy – How does the Fund Manager invest?
Hans van de Weg: "The ING Europe Opportunities strategy, invests in the most attractive ‘low expectations’ stock ideas in Europe making use of the expertise that is widely available within ING Investment Management. His objective is to actively manage a focused equity portfolio of European stock opportunities, well diversified over sectors. The portfolio manager uses a contrarian mindset to uncover investment opportunities.
The majority of the total risk budget is being allocated towards bottom up fundamental stock picking. This is becoming a neglected area of the stock market given the increasing importance of indexed or indexed-plus types of equity strategies.
The product is summarised by 3 C’s: Concentrated, Contrarian and Controlled:
- Concentrated: benchmark unaware, truly active and bottom up stock picking focus on the best European (high conviction) stock ideas.
- Contrarian: Focus on stocks with low expectations priced in. Avoids overcrowded areas of the market.
- Controlled: Diversified portfolio managed by our experienced Opportunity Equity team."
Hans van de Weg: "Earnings figures seem to confirm that economic growth has entered a soft patch at a time when the sovereign debt crisis is still lingering. We expect most of the headwinds to persist in the next few months. We think uncertainties will keep equity market volatility high.
Positives are the generally healthy balance sheets, low valuations and the lack of attractive alternative asset classes. Negatives are the ongoing sovereign debt issues and austerity measures taken by many western governments which might impact economic growth negatively. The ongoing tightening measures in China impact certain parts of the European equity market as well. Earnings revisions have become negative for the European Equity universe.
Valuations in Europe are attractive across the board, but expectations are relatively high for the early cyclical and consumer related parts of the European equity universe. It remains harder to find truly contrarian undervalued stock ideas in the consumer and the early cyclical parts of the European equity universe."
ING (L) Invest Europe Opportunities: “Alpha by applying a contrarian mindset”