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Neptune European Opportunities: time to buy or sell?

Rob Burnett’s macroeconomic and stock picking approach has produced strong outperformance over five years. Is it time to buy or sell?

What New Model Adviser® says

Rob Burnett has a strong five-year track record, having beaten the market in four of them. He outperformed in 2010, returning 8%. The fund has gained 61.5% over five years, versus 34.2% for the FTSE Europe ex UK index.

Burnett looks at the macroeconomic picture and picks companies from preferred sectors. He has increased exposure to financials in the past few weeks to more than 25% of the £1.2 billion portfolio.

What New Model Adviser® says

Rob Burnett has a strong five-year track record, having beaten the market in four of them. He outperformed in 2010, returning 8%. The fund has gained 61.5% over five years, versus 34.2% for the FTSE Europe ex UK index.

Burnett looks at the macroeconomic picture and picks companies from preferred sectors. He has increased exposure to financials in the past few weeks to more than 25% of the £1.2 billion portfolio.

What Neptune Investment Management says

The Neptune European Opportunities fund provides an investment gateway to global growth through the wealth of exciting global companies based in Europe. Strong stock picking and global industry sector views allow Burnett to position the fund in the companies and sectors most likely to outperform at any given time.

What the advisers say

AndrewChorley

Managing director, Financial Planning Wales

We have had a fairly positive view on investment in European companies for some time, with equity valuations at below average levels, and this is one of the funds we have supported.

There were always going to be questions asked whether Rob Burnett had sufficient experience given his age (now 33), however these have been answered by strong long term performance and the application of clear and innovative investment strategies since taking over the fund.

The move into steel is a sound thesis and reflects positive data on the US economy.

Verdict: Hot

Shane Bennett

Research assistant, Cathedral Financial Management

Since inception the fund has outperformed the sector, but more recently it has struggled due to Burnett’s underweight position in the consumer discretionary and industrials sector, which should not concern the long-term investor.

Burnett’s reputation as a high quality fund manager can be supported by his history of performing well in both rising and falling markets. Some investors may be put off by the fund’s lower correlation to Europe if maximum direct exposure to the sector is preferred.

As many investors continue to have concerns about sovereign debt, alpha will play an important part in obtaining decent returns in the European sector this year.

Verdict: Hot

Ross Yiend

Partner, Plutus Wealth Management

The fund took a defensive position in 2010 and this was reflected in end-of-year results. However, the three-year record shows good performance in the European sector.

The strategy has been successful over the long term and I like the unconstrained approach. The move into financials could prove to be positive and help drive performance this year.

The fund has been placed on our Plutus Investment Committee watch list for our clients’ portfolios due to its current positioning and performance year to date. The long-term view of the fund is also a positive.

Verdict: Hot

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