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Our 10 star fund picks from Citywire Selection

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by Kiran Moodley on Feb 28, 2012 at 13:27

Citywire Selection is our definitive list of what we believe are the top funds for the current investment climate. We reveal 10 star picks out of the 126 funds we currently rate.  

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BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust

Manager: Will Landers

Citywire Selection Verdict: Investment in the area is dominated by Brazil whose weakening currency has exacerbated falls for sterling investors. Negative sentiment has seen the trust move to a discount and returns are likely to remain volatile but we believe in the long term growth story of the region. Will Landers is backing domestic sectors in Brazil, has an overweight position in the country’s banks and also has 20% exposure to Mexico.

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Cia Vale Do Rio Doce11.35%
Itau Unibanco Holding SA8.75%
America Movil6.67%
Bco Bradesco Sa Pfd5.73%
AmBev Cia de Bebidas3.96%
OGX Petroleo3.33%
Fomento Economico Mexicano3.33%
Cia De Concessos Rodoviaria2.29%
Banco Do Brasil2.29%

*As of 31/01/2012

AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities

Manager: Nigel Thomas

Citywire Selection Verdict: With a strong 25-year track record of running UK equities, veteran fund manager Nigel Thomas continues to add value for investors. His experience leaves him looking beyond the near-term noise at opportunities that can be capitalised on. This includes key picks in the industrial, technology and consumer services sectors.

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BG GROUP 3.50%
DIAGEO 2.80%

*As of 31/12/2012

BlackRock World Mining Trust

Managers: Evy Hambro and Catherine Raw

Citywire Selection Verdict: Evy Hambro has run this strategy for many years with great success. When commodities do well, this trust will handsomely outperform and despite giving back some gains in 2011 it has still returned more than 150% over the last three years - nearly triple the world mining benchmark. The discount on this trust may seem attractive, but historically it does trade at around 15% less than the value of its assets although Hambro is looking to address this.

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Rio Tinto Ltd9.40%
BHP Billiton Limited8.30%
Glencore Finance Europe5.60%
Minas Buenaventura4.90%
Iluka Resources Limited4.60%
First Quantum Minerals Ltd.4.30%
Teck Resources Ltd Subordinate Voting Sh4.20%
Fresnillo PLC3.70%
Industrias Penoles SAB de CV3.50%

*As of 31/12/2011

Ecclesiastical Higher Income

Manager: Robin Hepworth

Citywire Selection Verdict: Robin Hepworth has been in bearish mood for two years and currently sees no reason to change that stance. Last year was a rare poor one for the fund having been hit by a sizeable allocation of 17% in financials. However he still ended the difficult year by losing less than 1%. This does nothing to tarnish the long-term track record of a manager who is consistently top quartile with a focus on wealth preservation at the core of any investment decision. This is achieved while still delivering an enviable yield of 4%. Despite his caution Hepworth is currently looking for opportunities in two of the riskier sides of his asset class, high yielding equities and corporate bonds.

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United Kingdom 4.500% 07-Mar-20138.44%
United Kingdom 5.250% 07-Jun-20123.73%
Vodafone Group PLC ORD2.88%
GlaxoSmithkline PLC ORD2.69%
Royal Dutch Shell Plc B ORD2.68%
Unilever PLC ORD1.58%
National Grid PLC ORD1.41%
Nationl Grd Gas 4.188% 14-Dec-20221.40%

Fidelity Moneybuilder Income

Manager: Ian Spreadbury

Citywire Selection Verdict: Through uncertain times, Ian Spreadbury’s steady approach has reaped rewards and this fund is also currently backed by a 3.6% yield. He sees financials as a risky area and has 15% in the sector, among the lowest in the peer group, through a diversified range of major European and UK banks. The key focus is on companies that can come through the tough economic environment such as consumer non-cyclicals, telecoms, utilities and tobacco.

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United Kingdom PERP2.70%
Cash and Other Assets2.41%
United Kingdom 3.250% 07-Dec-20111.96%
United Kingdom 2.250% 07-Mar-20141.67%
Sevrn Trnt Util 6.000% 22-Jan-20181.52%
Vodafone Grp 5.375% 05-Dec-20171.49%
Aspire Defnc Fin 4.674% 31-Mar-20401.40%
United Kingdom 6.000% 07-Dec-20281.35%
TESCO PROPERTY FINANCE PLC 6.052% 13-Oct-2039 21.31%
Great Rolling 6.875% 27-Jul-20351.27%

* As of 30/11/2011

First State Asia Pacific Leaders

Manager: Angus Tulloch

Citywire Selection Verdict: Asia was one of the worst-performing equity markets in 2011 as risk-off trade continued to play out. It may be bad for investors in the short term but it is the sort of environment Angus Tulloch seems to relish and he has once again handsomely outperformed a falling market. Shrewd stock selection in companies on a sound financial footing and the ability to stay clear of the hot areas of the Asian basket of countries are the secrets of his success. These bouts of underperformance will become less commonplace as Asia develops but, for now, there is no better investor in Asia.

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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd ORD7.19%
Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd ORD5.25%
Dbs Group Holdings Ltd ORD5.24%
The Hong Kong and China Gas Co Ltd ORD4.57%
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd ORD4.04%
Newcrest Mining Ltd ORD3.84%
Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd ORD3.70%
Axiata Group Bhd ORD3.24%
QBE Insurance Group Ltd ORD2.96%
Woodside Petroleum Ltd ORD2.86%

*As of 31/01/2012

First State Global Listed Infrastructure

Manager: Peter Meany

Citywire Selection Verdict:This fund blends together the defensive sectors of infrastructure and utilities. Launched just over four years ago it has delivered steady outperformance over world equities. The environment is promising for this asset class; structurally high inflation looks set to be a presence for some time and firms have the ability to pass on price rises to customers. This enables them to offer steady income streams to investors and income-paying investments are at a premium in this period of uncertainty. The fund made a small loss in 2011, but with a yield of 3% and uncertainty likely to remain for some time it appears a shrewd investment.

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Vinci SA ORD7.46%
GDF Suez SA ORD5.37%
Atlantia SpA ORD5.10%
E.ON AG ORD4.36%
Crown Castle International Corp ORD4.10%
PPL Corp ORD3.46%
Asciano Ltd ORD3.39%
Central Japan Railway Co ORD3.35%
Transurban Group3.32%
Koninklijke Vopak NV ORD2.95%

*As of 31/12/2011

GLG Japan CoreAlpha

Managers: Stephen Harker, Neil Edwards, Jeffrey Atherton

Citywire Selection Verdict:Last year was a poor one for the fund as its favoured large-cap value style was out of fashion and the fund underperformed for the first year out of seven. The managers follow a contrarian value style that is leading them to invest heavily in Japan’s beleaguered banks and tech stocks. While this has led to short-term underperformance, the experienced team should be well placed to benefit from any pick-up in Japanese economic activity.

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Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc ORD6.17%
Sony Corp ORD5.94%
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc ORD5.46%
Nomura Holdings Inc ORD5.21%
Panasonic Corp ORD4.63%
Ricoh Co Ltd ORD4.44%
Mizuho Financial Group Inc ORD4.29%
Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd ORD4.25%
Toyota Motor Corp ORD4.00%
Rohm Co Ltd ORD3.85%

*As of 31/12/2011

iShares S&P 500

Citywire Selection Verdict:There are many that will tell you that the passive option is the best and only one in the world’s most efficient market. Over time it is hard to argue against that assertion, with very few funds consistently adding value. Despite the high volatility the S&P 500 was resilient last year and actually rose 2.9%. At a sector level the market is well diversified and while technology is the dominant sector, it is not as dominant as financials once were. Moreover, the majority of revenue from US companies comes from abroad making it a play on global growth as much as on the strength of America. Many are getting carried away with the assertion that all is well in the US. While the data is more positive the debt mountain looms large as does the prospect of new leadership later in the year.

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JOHCM UK Opportunities

Manager: John Wood

Citywire Selection Verdict:Downward markets are when this fund thrives, leaving it well placed to strongly outperform over the long term. John Wood’sdistinct style focuses on cash-generative companies which helped the fund post a positive gain during 2011. His steady approach also provides the lowest volatility of any fund in the UK All Companies sector over the last three years.

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GBP Cash4.38%
GlaxoSmithkline PLC ORD4.35%
Unilever PLC ORD4.21%
Compass Group PLC ORD3.86%
Sage Group PLC ORD3.74%
Imperial Tobacco Group PLC ORD3.59%
Reed Elsevier PLC ORD3.56%
WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC ORD3.54%
AstraZeneca PLC ORD3.53%

*As of 31/12/2011

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