e-fundresearch: Which benchmark do you adhere to?
Maeda: TOPIX, the index consisting of all stocks listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange or about 1700 stocks.
e-fundresearch: Are you also responsible for other funds at the moment?
Maeda: I am responsible for a few funds distributed in Japan only. They are basically based on the same model portfolio as the Schroder ISF fund except one theme fund focusing on the companies with growing Asian business.
e-fundresearch: What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds?
Maeda: As of the end of 2011, I am the fund manager for about US$840 million in various funds. As the head of the Japanese equity team, I am responsible for about $4.6 billion.
e-fundresearch: Regarding the performance: which performance did you achieve since the beginning of the year and in the years 2007-2011? Absolutely and relatively to the relevant benchmark?
e-fundresearch: How content are you with your own performance in the last years and this year?
Maeda: There is always room for better performance. I am reasonably happy about the performance in the last three years. It is too early to tell about this year´s, and I would like to improve my relative performance in the coming months.
e-fundresearch: How are you able to deliver added value for your investors with your performance?
Maeda: I focus on low PER stocks with potential for positive surprises. I rely on my team of research analysts consisting of 8 sector analysts and three small-cap specialists. I have been adding value mainly in the mid cap segment where inefficiencies are greater compared with large cap stocks.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been a fund manager already?
Maeda: Right after the October crash in 1987 or 24 years and 5 months.
e-fundresearch: What were your biggest successes and your biggest disappointments in your career as fund manager?
Maeda: One of my biggest disappointments is probably the underperformance in 2008. One of my biggest successes is that I have added value over my entire career as a fund manager.
e-fundresearch: What kind of capital market situation do we have at the moment? How do you act in this environment?
Maeda: We are still in a recovery phase from the global recession in 2008 and the global macro outlook is still uncertain. I am focusing on earnings outlook of individual companies while avoiding taking significant macro risks.
e-fundresearch: What are the special challenges in this environment?
Maeda: How to deal with uncertain outlook for the global economy is one of the difficult challenges, though it is never certain.
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?
Maeda: Outperform the benchmark by 2 to 3 percentage points before fees annually.
e-fundresearch: Do you model yourself on someone? Any ideals?
Maeda: No, I do not.
e-fundresearch: What motivates you in your job?
Maeda: There is always room for better performance and each year is different, which together give me interesting challenges all the time.
e-fundresearch: What else do you want to achieve or do you have any further aims as a fund manager?
Maeda: I cannot think of any other than to keep outperforming the market and peers.
e-fundresearch: What other profession would you have taken interest in, apart from becoming a fund manager?
Maeda: Maybe a professor.
e-fundresearch: Thank you for the interview!