Sotiris Boutsis: I took over management of the Fidelity Funds Global Financial Services on 1 January 2010, having previously been a member of Fidelity’s pan-European financials analyst team.
e-fundresearch.com: What is the current size of the fund?
Sotiris Boutsis: The fund size is €427 million (30 June 2013).
e-fundresearch.com: Do you also manage other funds or mandates?
Sotiris Boutsis: I also manage a global financial services fund which is distributed in Canada. It is managed along the same lines as this fund.
e-fundresearch.com: What is the total amount of assets you manage currently?
Sotiris Boutsis: In total, I manage US$609 million (approximately €455million)
e-fundresearch.com: How long have you been in the business as a fund manager?
Sotiris Boutsis: I joined Fidelity Worldwide Investment as a research analyst in 2002, having successfully completed an internship with the firm the previous year. After various sector rotations, which are part of Fidelity’s analyst development programme, I joined our pan-European financials analyst team in early 2006. My role as analyst was to conduct in-depth company and industry research and recommend my top stock picks to our fund managers and help them successfully position their funds. As a financial analyst, I ran a pilot fund managing Fidelity’s own money.
e-fundresearch.com: What are the main steps in your investment process and in which area is your competitive edge to add value to investors?
Sotiris Boutsis: I am first and foremost a stockpicker. While macroeconomic conditions are clearly of considerable interest to me, I am primarily concerned with finding stock specific drivers that will create upside for company earnings and share prices. I aim to have a good management at my side, which is why company meetings form a key part of my process, so I get to discuss their strategy with senior management.
I look for franchise quality, real asset backing - where possible - and all this at a valuation that is not pricing the above factors. I generally prefer attractively valued, fundamentally sound stocks to their oversold but low quality counterparts.
A distinguishing feature of my approach is that I seek out high quality, less volatile stocks with a relatively high return on equity and good growth prospects. My investment universe is sufficiently large as to allow me to invest in non-mainstream ideas in under-researched categories. Fidelity’s extensive research resources made up of local research analysts spread across the globe is a great asset in helping me find such stocks to invest in.
e-fundresearch.com: Which benchmark is most relevant and how should investors compare the fund vs. benchmarks or peer groups?
Sotiris Boutsis: The fund’s benchmark is the MSCI AC World Financials, which includes banks, insurers, real estate companies and other financial services firms listed both in developed and emerging markets.
I think it is appropriate for investors to judge the fund’s performance both compared to the index as well as other global financial services funds.
e-fundresearch.com: Which performance did you achieve for the fund YTD and over the past five calendar years in absolute terms and relative to relevant benchmark or other reference indices?
Sotiris Boutsis: The fund has outperformed the MSCI AC World Financials so far this year, returning 9.3% versus 7.9% for the index*.
Over five years, the fund has returned 30.1% versus 15.1% for the index. Over the period, it was ranked 1st quartile in its peer group (Morningstar GIF Sector Equity Financial Services)* *Returns in € net of fees for the A share class to 31st July 2013.
e-fundresearch.com: Thank you!