e-fundresearch.com: Mr Somel, you are the fund manager of the M&G Global Basics Fund (ISIN: GB0030932676). When did you take over the responsibility of managing this fund?
Randeep Somel: Management was handed over on 19 November 2013.
e-fundresearch.com: What is the current size of the fund?
Randeep Somel: €4.9 billion
e-fundresearch.com: Do you also manage other funds or mandates?
Randeep Somel: Yes, the M&G Managed Growth Fund and the Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Fund.
e-fundresearch.com: What is the total amount of assets you manage currently?
Randeep Somel: €8.1 billion
e-fundresearch.com: How long have you been in the business as a fund manager?
Randeep Somel: Before my recent appointments as lead manager on the M&G Global Basics Fund and M&G Managed Growth Fund, I was co-fund manager.
I was deputy manager on both funds since 2010 and dedicated analyst since 2008. I have worked on the M&G equities team since joining the company in 2005.
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?
Randeep Somel: We adopt an unconstrained, conviction-led approach to investing. Our objective is to identify international best-in-class companies with sustainable cashflows that are not dependent on a single end-client or end- market, and which can benefit from superior global growth, predominantly in emerging markets.
Key to our approach is the flexibility of the mandate: we can invest wherever we feel there are the greatest opportunities and most compelling valuations.
We believe that working closely with management, often taking meaningful positions in companies, enables us to align our interests and ensures the business is run for the benefit of the minority shareholder and, by extension, for the benefit of our underlying investors.
Finally, M&G’s reputation as a collaborative long-term investor means companies seek us out and that opportunities come to us as much as we find them.
e-fundresearch.com: Which benchmark is most relevant and how should investors compare the fund vs. benchmarks or peer groups?
Randeep Somel: Due to the fund’s unconstrained approach, flexible mandate and subsequent evolution of exposures results in a unique fund proposition. As such, there is no one perfect comparative index and often, over time, the underlying exposures on the fund have led to various performance comparisons. For example, given the significant weighting in materials during the first decade of the fund’s existence and its chosen approach of indirectly accessing emerging markets, the fund has been pitted against indices with these characteristics, notably the basic materials sector and an emerging markets index.
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?
Randeep Somel: Under the tenure of the previous manager, the fund returned 1.6% year-to-date and 10.0% per annum in Euro terms over the five years to the end of October 2013.
e-fundresearch.com: What motivates you in your job?
Randeep Somel: The responsibility of providing our investors with long-term capital growth above our comparative index is a huge challenge but one that I relish. Identifying best-in-class assets, brands and companies best placed to benefiit from long-term demographic changes in growing economies is tremendously difficult but immensely rewarding when you get it right.
e-fundresearch.com: Which other profession would you have considered apart from becoming a fund manager?
Randeep Somel: My ambition from a young age was to be a fund manager so I feel very fortunate in being able to do work that I love in a job that I’ve always wanted to do.
e-fundresearch.com: THANK YOU!
Source of fund data: M&G, as at 31 October 2013 (with the exception of fund size for Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Fund: Vanguard, as at 31 October 2013.)
Source of performance data: Morningstar Inc, Pan European Universe, as at 31 October 2013, price to price basis, euro A share class, net income reinvested.