Spy is suffering, badly. He thought that American republicans, who gave the world a Ronald Reagan presidency, could not be crazy enough to nominate the Donald. He was so confident of this fact, he placed a large Kazakh vodka-based bet on it and has had to pay the price in a misguided drinking competition with a certain Asian equities fund manager. With Trump assured of the republican nomination, Spy’s liver is paying the ultimate price. His only solace is that, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, Americans may have Trump for up to 8 years, but Spy will at least be sober in a few days…
Spy hears the broom has been sweeping at Blackrock and Wendy Loke has stepped down from her marketing role in Singapore and is not being replaced. Blackrock announced significant job cuts earlier this year and Asia has not been immune to the bean counters’ swinging scythe.
Pity Aberdeen, thinks Spy, which continues to suffer nasty outflows, shown in its latest results. Booted out the FTSE 100 earlier in the year, the Scottish money manager has now had outflows of about £40bn in the last 12 months. Despite Aberdeen’s efforts to diversify its product and service range, in the investing world it is still best associated with emerging markets and they remain as popular as an income tax increase. The shares are down about 15% in the last 3 weeks and currently trading at 266p.
Spy’s spies have spotted a new fund promo from Standard Chartered Bank this week. All funds purchased in Singapore attract only an 0.5% buying fee for the whole of May. This remarkably simple and gimmick free promo is welcomed by Spy who is jaded by shopping vouchers and free nights at hotels. Good luck Big Blue!
Spy has heard most pithy sayings and aphorisms about and within the market, and since it is the month of May journalists and analysts have been debating the merits of “Sell in May and go away”. While this timing strategy of missing out on the summer investment doldrums has some academic merit for equity investors, fund investors should be wary. The cost of trading funds is much higher than direct equities, and investors will almost surely pay more in fees by chopping and changing strategies mid year. Spy’s advice: Go away, but don’t sell. Take a long summer holiday and let the market and your funds look after themselves.
Outperformance comes from unexpected places, thinks Spy. Looking at the 10 best performing offshore funds over the last year, one small fund stood out. It is the only fund that is not in commodities or property: Atlantis Japan Opportunities Fund is up 22% in the last year versus a drop of 6.8% on the Topix. Three-year performance is just as impressive: 69.2% up versus only 9.1% on the Topix. Atlantis is a boutique set up by ex-Schroders portfolio managers, now entirely owned by Yang Liu and run from Asia. Contrast this stellar Japanese performance with the more widely held Eastspring Investments Japan Dynamic Fund Class A (USD)-H down 19.22% year to date. Ouch!
What’s up with GAM, the Swiss asset manager that manages the Julius Baer range of funds? Their share price hit a one-year low this week and their most recent set of quarterly results in April showed net outflows of assets of more than $3bn, or nearly 4% of group assets. According to Spy’s analysis, 55% of GAM’s 167 funds are currently negative over the last year. In addition to JB, GAM manages some RobecoSAM branded funds too. It certainly makes it easier for the JB funds team to recommend third party funds instead of their own…
Spy’s roving band of photographers have spotted some asset management advertising in Hong Kong.
Guotai Junan has been promoting its range of asset management services on trams and tram stops with a general branding campaign:
Amundi is promoting its recently-launched Hang Sang ETF across trams, tram stops and print:
SLI has been on the tram/tram stop circuit as it continues its general branding campaign across Hong Kong:
Until next week...