e-fundresearch.com: Mr. Sotiris Boutsis, you are the fund manager of the Fidelity Global Financial Services Fund (ISIN LU0114722498). When did you take over the responsibility of managing this fund?When did you take over the responsibility of managing this fund?
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!