Allianz Global Investors has launched the Allianz US Small Cap Equity fund, available to investors in the UK and Europe. The fund is managed from San Diego by John McCraw and a team of four portfolio managers with more than ninety years’ collective experience covering the US small cap sector. The actively managed, bottom-up strategy focuses on US companies that have a market capitalisation of between $100 million and $3 billion and that the team believes will offer high return potential, using an investment philosophy and process honed over decades. As small caps have strong ties to the local economy and culture, the team’s local knowledge and on-the-ground access to potential portfolio companies allows them to most effectively research and monitor investment opportunities.
The UK All Companies sector is the most consistent sector for top quartile performance over the last three years, according to the F&C multi-manager team’s latest FundWatch survey. The UK All Companies sector saw 4.7 percent of funds achieve top quartile returns consistently over the last three years (from July 2011 to June 2014). It was closely followed by the IMA Japan sector which saw 4.3 percent of funds make the grade. The broader market context however remains challenging, with only 25 of 1,086 funds achieving top quartile returns, close to the bottom of the historic range for the F&C MM consistency ratio, at 2.3 percent. The survey also revealed that few bond funds have been able to adapt to changing market conditions and beat peers on a regular basis. Neither the IMA Global Bonds nor the IMA £ Strategic Bond sectors had any funds performing in the top quartile range over the last three years.
FTSE Group, the global index provider, announced the launch of the FTSE Global Factor Index Series, a new suite of benchmarks designed to represent the performance of specific factor characteristics. Six single factor indices will be created as part of the index series: Illiquidity, Momentum, Quality, Size, Value and Volatility. They will be based on the market cap weighted FTSE Developed and FTSE Emerging indices. The initial launch phase will consist of six single factor indices representing a tilt in a specific direction (e.g. low volatility, small size). Indices exhibiting multiple factor tilts and directions will form part of the offering.
Technology investment specialist Mercia Fund Management is launching a new fund offering tax-efficient investment in the UK’s fast-growing digital economy. The Mercia Digital Fund will utilise the hybrid structure of Mercia’s previous three tax-efficient funds, combining the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), to invest in a diversified portfolio of innovative digital companies with high growth potential.
The board of Phaunos Timber Fund Limited reported that, as a consequence of a number of changed circumstances, including a possible final capital call from Greenwood Tree Farm and a temporary suspension of dividends from Matariki as a result of reduced timber prices in China, there is material uncertainty over the immediate liquidity requirements of the company and its cash position. The board, as advised by Stafford Timberland Limited, believes that, without action, the company may be unable to pay its liabilities as they fall due within the next three to six months.
Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) is repositioning its European equity offering. As a consequence its European Income Fund has become the European Opportunities Fund. The fund’s new strategy reflects investors’ consensus that the EU economy is growing and that there are pockets which will grow faster than others. The European Opportunities Fund invests in a more concentrated portfolio of shares of 30-40 European (excluding UK) companies, which have potential for above average growth. Preference will be given to companies which offer niche products or services that will grow faster than the broader economy, that operate in markets with high barriers to entry and generate strong cash flows.
Sanditon, the firm created by former Cazenove managers Tim Russell and Chris Rice, received regulatory approval for a pair of absolute return funds and two long only products. The four strategies – long only and long/short UK equity funds, and long only and long/short European equity funds – are now expected to launch later this year. Operated by Thesis Unit Trust Management, the pair of absolute return funds are called Sanditon European Select and Sanditon UK Select, while the long-only products have been named the Sanditon European fund and Sanditon UK fund.