Rugby World Cup: top fund picks from the contending regions

16th September 2015


With the Rugby World cup kicking off this week, Andy Parsons, head of investment research and advisory services at The Share Centre, picks four top funds from across contending regions…

 Standard Life UK Equity Income Unconstrained

As an investment aiming to provide both income and capital growth, this British fund has proven to be a true contender in its field.  Launched in 2007, fund manager Thomas Moore runs a reasonably concentrated portfolio, with currently around 62 holdings including BT, Legal & General, Aviva and Vodafone Group. By the very nature of managing money in an unconstrained manner, Thomas will seek to run larger positions in those stocks for which he has the strongest conviction.

With a strong performance history, the Standard Life UK Equity Income Unconstrained fund is a solid choice for investors seeking an alternative UK equity income offering.

Henderson European Focus

This fund seeks to provide investors with long-term capital growth by investing in a portfolio of European holdings, excluding the UK. At the present time it has geographical tilt to countries such as Switzerland, Germany and France, whilst top holdings include Roche, Novartis, Bayer and Nestle. With a mandate allowing flexibility to invest across the market cap spectrum, investors may find a slightly contrarian approach as they seek to identify global trends as they happen.

Interested investors should be aware that the fund will be concentrated in terms of the number of companies it holds and is suitable for those investors seeking to build a core European holding.

Legg Mason Clearbridge US Aggressive Growth

Driven by a pure bottom-up stock picking approach, the fund generally looks to hold between 50 and 70 stocks, with no attention given to the benchmark. Conviction is given to the top 10 holdings, which generally comprise around 50% of the overall portfolio, while the remainder and tail aid the portfolio’s development.

The managers also seek to identify opportunities from across the market cap spectrum. However, with an extremely low portfolio turnover rate and a strict valuation discipline, investors are unlikely to see any significant changes to market cap and sectorial exposure in the short term.

This fund is suitable for those investors seeking growth from their investment, but with a core US focus.

Legg Mason Japan

The Legg Mason Japan Equity fund seeks to benefit from the economic and structural changes that Japan faces. Whether that is through the continuing and ongoing rapid emergence of the internet as a sales channel, to the opportunities created by the ageing population or the medical and long-term care industries needed to help support the nation.

The portfolio is concentrated with the number of holdings varying between 25 – 60 stocks, with around 80% of the holdings being seen as core strategic for the long term, whilst the remaining 20% are seen as tactical short to medium term investments. In Q1 2015 the fund had 35 holdings. The lower the number of individual holdings, the greater the conviction and bullish feeling the manager has. The fund has the flexibility to invest across the entire spectrum of companies, albeit it generally focusses on companies that have a market capitalisation of between £330m and £1bn.

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