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Fondsduell: M&G Global Dividend vs. Pictet High Dividend Selection

Im Rahmen der neuen Artikelserie "Fondsduell" werden zwei Fonds ausgewählt, die vergleichbare Strategien verfolgen bzw. deren unterschiedliche Strategien einen interessanten Vergleich darstellen. Die beiden ausgewählten Fondsmanager beantworten drei Fragen des Schweizer Fondsresearch Spezialisten Martin Bürki. Funds | 30.04.2013 02:00 Uhr
Das Fondsduell ist ein neues Artikelformat, das in Kooperation zwischen und dem Fondsexperten Martin Bürki (martInvestments) präsentiert wird.

Fondsduell 1 - M&G Global Dividend Fund vs. Pictet High Dividend Selection

Frage 1: "Was macht gerade Ihren Investment-Ansatz so einzigartig? Wie grenzen Sie sich gegenüber der Konkurrenz ab und welches ist die beste Marktphase für Ihre Strategie?"

M&G Global Dividend Fund:

Unlike many equity income funds, Stuart Rhodes, fund manager of the M&G Global Dividend Fund, focuses on dividend growth rather than a high dividend yield, which can be a sign of a company in trouble. Stuart looks for companies around the world with excellent capital discipline that are able to deliver long-term dividend growth. Over time the compounding of that growth will make a huge difference to returns.

“I believe very strongly that focusing on the long-term prospects of individual companies, rather than second-guessing the short-term direction of markets or economies, is the best way to create wealth for investors over the long run,” comments Stuart. “I am confident in our investment approach and remain convinced that our strategy of backing companies with potential for long-term dividend growth will reward investors over time.”

In Stuart’s view, rising dividends are a sign of a company with strong capital discipline and commitment to shareholder value. Dividends are the measure that most clearly and objectively reveals the underlying health and strength of a business. They are difficult to fake. In fact, Stuart thinks that a progressive dividend policy helps a company improve because a company has to grow its business to support a rising dividend stream. It regulates the amount of cash that can be reinvested in the business and therefore ensures that only the most profitable projects are selected. Looking at it another way, the potential for value destruction is more limited when dividends compete with the capital available for investment. Stuart believes that dividends should not be an afterthought; they should be an integral part of good company management so that the business grows in a sensible manner.  

Stuart adds, “While it is essential that we do not become complacent about valuation, we are confident about the dividend generating capacity of the stocks we own and continue to find new opportunities at attractive prices.” “We have a balanced portfolio diversified across countries and sectors and we select stocks with three different sources of dividend growth so that the portfolio can perform in different market environments.”

The three distinct investment categories, each with different risk/reward profiles give the portfolio the chance to perform well regardless of the market environment.

These categories are:

•        Quality: disciplined companies with reliable growth.
•        Assets: asset-backed companies with good capital discipline in industries that tend to be more sensitive to economic factors.
•        Rapid growth: companies exhibiting high growth driven by geography or product line.

The different characteristics of the three baskets in the portfolio give Stuart confidence that the fund should continue to perform well in the long term. For instance, if quality stocks are left behind as markets run up, he should be able to purchase those companies at attractive valuations that will come into their own when the rally subsides. Conversely, a period of weakness in the broader markets will probably uncover investment opportunities in higher beta and more cyclical businesses. Similarly. Stuart expects performance to be driven by the quality stocks when the market is in defensive mode and by the assets and rapid growth stocks when investors are happy to take on more risk.

Quality (dividend bankers) – a natural hunting ground for investors seeking dividends is high-quality companies – disciplined companies that are already generating decent returns in excess of the cost of capital, but where the potential for profitable growth is not given sufficient credit by the market. Investors are often too hasty in discrediting the high returns from unique franchises (eg, consumer brands, distribution networks), expecting their competitive advantage and excess return to fade. These quality companies, which tend to be large multinationals with good capital allocation skills, usually have strong market positions, stable cashflows and long-term growth opportunities that allow them to increase their dividends year-after-year.

Assets (cyclical growth) – cyclical companies that have the ability to increase their dividends over time – asset-rich companies that can exercise pricing power because of the strength of their asset base. The market’s tendency to sell cyclical stocks indiscriminately during times of economic uncertainty presents opportunities for stockpickers to buy into disciplined companies in cyclical industries at cheap valuations. These stocks ensure that the fund is not restricted to defensive companies and gives the portfolio a degree of balance.

Rapid growth (structural growth) – companies that are growing fast by virtue of their geography, industry or product line. These companies, because of their good capital discipline, are able to grow quickly and generate strong cashflow at the same time, allowing dividends to increase at a fast pace. The market has a tendency to underestimate the pace and sustainability of growth in these companies and therefore allows investors to benefit from strong share-price performance as well as a rapidly rising income stream.

Pictet High Dividend Selection:

We believe we have the following competitive advantages:

Proven success: the team has successfully managed a lower volatility global equity fund since 2005
Stable and relatively high dividends: non-cyclical businesses that require significant upfront investment, coupled with long and predictable pay-back periods achieve stable returns and pay out solid and sustainable dividends
Experienced, well staffed and very focused investment team, fully dedicated to the management of the strategy and incentives linked to the performance of the strategy.  The composition of the team has been very stable
Non-benchmarked and bottom up investment process aimed as adequate risk allocation across the universe
Easy access to company management: thanks to our scale (AUM in excess of $9bn as at end of February 2013) we have facilitate and have direct access to the management of companies
Internal analytical work is sector based.  We leverage our team of regional, fixed income and sector specialists who provide insight and try to build on the research resources within Pictet, looking to collaborate as often as possible with analysts and PMs within the organisation
Low drawdown's in market corrections: please see the scatter graph overleaf

Over a full market cycle, and as proven in the past, we aim to outperform the broader market thanks to our high dividend quality characteristics that aim to lead to superior risk-return characteristics over the long-term.
Within an economic cycle, we would expect our weakest relative performance to occur in strong cyclical rallies, as we tend to run a lower-than-market beta.

The below graph shows the monthly relative performance of the High Dividend Selection product against the MSCI AC World index.

Click on image to enlarge!
Click on image to enlarge!
As the graph overleaf shows:

Monthly relative performance was positive (in EUR): 20 times out of 33, or 61% of the time 

To conclude, our fund is most of the time outperforming in up or down markets, but less when the broad market is sharply up.

Frage 2: "Was war der größte Anlageerfolg und der größte Anlagemisserfolg der letzten 12 Monate? Was haben Sie daraus gelernt?"

M&G Global Dividend Fund:

Positive: Prudential

UK insurer Prudential has contributed the most to performance over the past 12 months (to 31 March 2013). The insurer has its origins in the UK, but the key driver of the business is Asia where the company has a leading brand and strong market positions. Prudential is benefitting from the higher penetration of financial products among Asian consumers and we believe this growth dynamic is likely to continue. The region’s increasing wealth is a long-term structural trend in our view, and we are confident that this will support high rates of dividend growth in the future.

Negative: Occidental Petroleum  

The holding in US oil & gas producer Occidental Petroleum detracted from performance during 2012. The company’s share price lagged the wider sector during the oil price recovery since mid-June; however, management remains committed to growing the business and to its dividend growth policy. We believe that the share-price dips were market over-reactions and that Occidental has a strong balance sheet and good capital discipline. We took advantage of the share-price weakness to add to the position.

Pictet High Dividend Selection:

Over the last 12 months  (as of the end of march 2013), our best and worst investments have been the following :

1) Best : INMARSAT, +68.82% over the last 12 months.
Inmarsat is a worldwide satellite group, leader in providing  voice and internet data. It serves clients like maritime industry, media, government or gas companies among others. Even if the company has the best terrestrial coverage ever as well as maritime it is still heavily investing to improve its services. It recently confirmed the launch of its Global Xpress offer, that has the potential to generate USD 375 mio in revenues per year from 2019 and upwards.
Inmarsat has visibility on its activities financing up to 2016.
The maritime division is Key for Inmarsat and we expect this division to continue to deliver double digit growth (+17% to 18%) going forward as Inmarsat offer is still compelling for its customers, what in return offers a good visibility on long term contracts. 2013 guidance could be exceeded as capex cycle has peaked which will allow CFs generation to go up. The company is offering a dividend yield of around 5%.
To sum up, we continue to like the growth prospect of this company, the high visibility on its financing needs and CFs generation, as well as the level of its dividend yield.

2) Worst : ENEL, -28.95% over the last 12 months.
Enel continues to benefit from its LatAm exposure through its 92% stake in Endesa (the Spanish gas supplier), which represents 30 to 40% of  profits. In Italy, despite the current uncertain political situation, the regulatory environment is not so negative as returns have been reviewed two years ago. The dividend risk is behind us regarding Enel, as the payout was already lowered to a minimum of 40% from 60%. Enel is at this level a deep value play and continues to have a good access to the capital market.
Despite the good stock specific fundamentals mentioned above, the weak Italian equity market due to the difficult current economic and political situation of the country is leading to the stock underperformance over the last 12 months.
It is important not to underestimate the potential negative macro or industry factors that may weight on specific stocks. That is why, in our bottom up stock analysis process, we have a section called "industry factors" that allow us, if needed, to penalize (through a discount to the stock target weight) a company that may operate in an industry that maybe negatively impacted by short term cyclical factors such as investor's risk aversion (leverage, sovereign risk, regulation, etc...) among others

Frage 3: "Was sind neben den Dividendenausschüttungen bei der Titelauswahl die wichtigsten Kriterien?"

M&G Global Dividend Fund:

Around 95% of the construction of the portfolio is driven by bottom-up stockpicking, with purchases dependent on share price valuations.

As well as dividend payments, Stuart looks for the potential for profitable growth and an attractive valuation.

Pictet High Dividend Selection:

The strategy focuses on companies with predictable and stable cash flows in both developed and emerging markets. We invest in quality companies that offer above median, sustainable and growing dividend yields, as we believe that these companies offer attractive investment characteristics to investors. These include a relatively high and stable dividend income, portfolio diversification, relatively low sensitivity to the business cycle, inflation protection and long-term growth potential.

To remain focused on the high dividend and quality concepts, we developed a ‘quality factor’ to the quantitative segment of our investment process.  This factor allows us to move on from a sector based approach of high dividend quality to a stock specific approach, enabling us to identify candidates in all ten MSCI GICS sectors.  This quality factor is aimed at identifying quality companies with respect to: quality of its balance sheet (solvency, liquidity, leverage); profitability (sustainability of margins, capital intensity, cash conversion) and stability (asset growth, dividend coverage, equity issuance, volatility of ROA).

We apply a bottom-up stock selection process using a disciplined analysis that is aimed at identifying the most attractively valued and highest-quality shares in our investment universe. Only an active and disciplined investment style can consistently identify and benefit from pricing anomalies. The investment approach draws on the in-depth experience of the investment managers.

Our fund’s investment strategy can be summarised as follows:
Focus on bottom-up stock selection, with the emphasis on fundamental analysis and company visits aimed at identifying the highest-quality shares in our universe.  Unlike many managers we do start our investment process with a decision about a region or country.  We believe that it is very difficult to predict the relative performance of these factors and prefer instead to concentrate on analysing and finding promising companies
Active management, in areas where there is solid evidence of the potential to generate alpha over the long term by taking active risk
Continuous risk management, integrated into the investment process and then ensured by independent risk control units
A risk-adjusted equally weighted investment process, that lead us to construct the portfolio away from benchmark weights and according to our in-depth bottom up analysis
A non-benchmark style as no one index is able to fully reflect the diversity of the sectors we invest in.  However, for the sake of performance illustration, we have used the MSCI World (nr) index as a reference index for the pooled Pictet-High Dividend Selection fund since its inception in May 2010.

We believe that over the long-run, dividends constitute at least half of total investment returns.
•Business models that benefit from sustainable competitive advantages aim to provide the high and sustainable dividends offered by regulatory protection or extremely high barriers to entry.
•Building an investment strategy that aims to maximise dividend returns through high yield equities therefore driving superior investment performance coupled with lower volatility.
•The high dividend and quality stocks concepts are academically well documented: long-term outperformance of higher yielding stocks, Professor Kenneth French, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth; risk adjusted returns of high yielding stocks, Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Stanton, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth.

Our experience of managing high-yield equity portfolios shows that a portfolio of high-yield equity provides income and returns in a more stable manner than the average portfolio of global equities.  We focus on quality companies with sustainable and growing dividends, as we believe that these companies offer attractive investment characteristics to institutional investors.  These include a relatively high and stable dividend income, portfolio diversification, relatively low sensitivity to the business cycle, inflation protection and long-term growth potential. The result of this approach is a concentrated portfolio with active risk taking and attractive risk-adjusted returns.

Martin Bürki
Martin Bürki

Martin Bürki verfügt über 14 Jahre Erfahrung bei der Auswahl von Anlagefonds. Im Zeitraum von 2000 bis 2008 war er für den Aufbau des weltweiten Fondsresearch der UBS AG verantwortlich. Das Research-Team umfasste 18 Analysten, die in 5 Zentren weltweit tätig waren. Analysen dieses Research-Teams lieferten die Grundlage für Fondsportfolios im Wert von CHF 40 Milliarden. Im Jahr 2008 hatte sich Martin Bürki selbständig gemacht und die Firma martInvestments gegründet. Als unabhängiger Vermögensverwalter erstellt er seither Fondsportfolios für Privatkunden und berät Banken, Family Offices und Vermögensverwalter bei der Auswahl von Anlagefonds. Zusätzlich ist Martin für die Zweigniederlassung in Zug der Firma Sauren tätig.

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