After the tumult of the financial crisis, 2009 has so far been a bumper year for funds in emerging markets equities.
We took a look at more than 800 funds from the global emerging markets and global emerging markets Europe sectors to find those funds available to Europe's investors that generated the strongest outperformance between the end of December and the end of July.
In this period, the average fund in the emerging global area returned 48.57%, and in emerging Europe the average was 39.07%
The top managers we found far outstripped these figures, with the leading fund returning 94.88%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the high beta nature of the area, the fund that performed best focused on small caps. The JPM Emerging Markets Small Cap fund, managed by Greg Mattiko, had lost 62.8% between its launch in November 2007 and the end of 2008, while the MSCI EM Emerging markets index lost 53%, but 2009 has seen the fund come back strongly.
Second in the analysis is focused on eastern Europe and is the Ignis Intl HEXAM Emerging Europe fund run by Stuart Richards and Marina Akopian. It has returned 85.22% this year, meaning it is now outperforming the sector's average fund since launch after underperforming during the financial crisis.
Third in the analysis is Pictet's eastern European fund, PF(LUX)-Eastern Europe, managed by the A-rated duo of Agne Zitkute and Michal Bartek. They have returned 81.42% since the turn of the year. This is also the fund displaying the best risk-adjusted performance this year, with an information ratio of 1.43.
Placed fourth is Sydinvest's ISI Bric Equities fund, managed by Pauli Laursen, having returned 80.5% in seven months. Laursen's figures since taking the helm of the fund, back in November 2004, make impressive reading. The fund has returned 128% in those 56 months, while the average global emerging markets fund has returned 62%.
Following the Sydinvest fund are two Turkish funds: DWS Tuerkei, managed by Sebastian Kahlfeld, and the East Capital Turkish fund, run by the trio of Peter Elam Håkansson, Jacob Grapengiesser and Aivaras Abromavicius. The DWS fund has returned 76.37% since January, while the East Capital fund has returned 75%.
Making up the list of top emerging market performers this year is Charles Firmin Didot and his AXA WF Framlington Emerging Markets Talents fund. Firmin Didot runs the Talents range of funds focused on a variety of equity sectors, all concentrating on investing in companies run by talented individuals (see recent interview here). The range performed poorly during the financial crisis, but has made a strong comeback as markets have turned.
All performance figures quoted are in US dollar terms.