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Swiss firm targets UK with 50-stock European family business fund

Swiss firm targets UK with 50-stock European family business fund

Swiss group Syz & Co has handed European equity specialist Eric Bendahan a new fund focused on family-owned businesses.

The value specialist will use a high conviction approach on the new fund, named Oyster Continental European Selection.

The Luxembourg-domiciled fund will look for European companies which have strong five-year growth potential, with Bendahan running a portfolio with a low stock turnover.

It will invest in around 50 stocks and focus on continental Europe excluding the UK, which differs from his flagship Oyster European Opportunities fund which can invest across the whole of Europe.

Oyster said the fund was primarily aimed at tapping UK institutional investor interest, while also being available to wider European investors.

Bendahan operates on a bottom-up stock-picking basis and favours contrarian bets. He will focus on companies enjoying strong growth in mature sectors as well as event-driven, turnaround stories.

Commenting on the launch, Bendahan told our sister publication Citywire Global: ‘This family-owned theme is something we have always believed in because these businesses normally have a more patrimonial outlook, which leads them to think about things on a long term basis.’

‘While the head of a publically-owned business is likely to be there for 4 and a half years, that leads them to act short-term. However, the average tenure in a family-owned business is 14-15 years, which creates longevity.’

The fund is benchmarked against the MSCI Europe ex-UK NR GBP and available in a variety of share classes: institutional and clean retail, sterling and Euro, distribution or accumulation.

As well as the Oyster European Opportunities, Bendahan also runs the Oyster European Selection fund.

Speaking to Citywire Global at the end of 2013, Bendahan said he had doubled his exposure to ‘deep value’ stocks in his flagship Oyster European Opportunities fund.

On a three year basis, Bendahan has returned 36% across the two funds, while the average manager in the 542-strong European equity sector returned 22.2%.

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