主頁
 投資組合
 基金/市場動向
 ETF
 強積金/生活理財
 基金工具
 基金篩選器
 基金檢閱
 組別排行榜
 保證基金
 

2017 Best Asia-Pacific Equity Fund Winner Q&A - Robeco Asia Pacific Equities Fund

To help our readers better observe what makes a fund a winner fund, we sent out questionnaires to the winning fund teams earlier and asked them to shed lights on their team structure, how various risks have affected their investment decisions, and the major portfolio changes over last year, etc.  

Nelly Poon 14/03/17

Category Winner: Best Asia-Pacific Equity Fund - Robeco Asia Pacific Equities D USD

Key Stats
Inception Date: 2010-02-18
Total Net Assets (Mil) (2017-02-28): USD 712.75  
Manager: Arnout van Rijn 

M: Morningstar R: Fund Management Team

M: Could you highlight any major changes you made to the portfolio over the course of 2016? Were there any particular holding that drove the fund’s performance for the year?

R: In the first half of 2016, fear ruled and regional equity markets lost more than 10% in the first few weeks. The introduction of negative interest rates by the Bank of Japan in late January was revealing in that it showed ineffectiveness of Central Bank policies after so many years of stimulus: the yen strengthened rather than the expected weakening. After that weak start, as by magic a gradual recovery took hold and Asian markets finished the year with decent gains. Abating fear over an imminent collapse of China and increased confidence over global growth resulted in a big sector rotation away from expensive defensives into more cyclical and cheaper stocks. The fund benefitted from this rotation and smartly outperformed its benchmark by 4.5% gross. Most of this relative return was driven by stock selection. In Japan our stock picks contributed 1.4% to relative performance all coming from the second half when the big rotation to value stocks emerged. In Australia our stock picks contributed a relative 1.2%. Primary Healthcare (+80%) stabilized its cash flow generation after a management change, Newcrest Mining (+57%) benefitted from cost cuts under new management and a higher gold price while Treasury Wine Estates (+31%) showed solid margin improvement. In China results were mixed although telecom equipment installer China Communication Services was a stand-out with a gain of 74%. We made a weak call on milk producer Murray Goulburn (-61%) after it overpromised on China sales. The allocation call to prefer Pakistan over India contributed about 0.6%.

M: What is your outlook for 2017 specific to the markets you cover, and how are you positioned to take advantage of opportunities and/or mitigate potential risks?

R: A wave of optimism about global growth and inflation has returned and we are bullish on the outlook for our markets in 2017.  The fund’s emphasis is on North Asia and here the outlook is promising as the China economy bottoms out.  Japan has strong demand for equity from big institutions and companies are rewarded for more generous shareholder return policies.  Korea is a good market for patient value investors now that dividend payouts are more likely to rise.  The regional earnings outlook is healthy (12% for 2017) with many more upgrades than before.  The fund’s portfolio (87 stocks) is good value at 13.1x forward earnings, 6.6x cash flow, 1.1x book and a 2.8% dividend yield.

Summary of our market outlook for Asia Pacific markets

Country ranking

 

Positive

 

Korea

Many cheap stocks. Political upheaval largely shrugged off by the market. Scope for re-rating if payouts rise.

Japan

Improvements in shareholder returns. Still good value. Earnings outlook has turned up.

China

Plenty of attractive stocks. Fear amongst foreign investors has faded. Rate cuts help and growth supported.

Neutral

 

Taiwan

Future of hardware model and relation with China uncertain. Yield supports market.

Singapore

Benefits from global yield quest and good governance. Limited bottom-up opportunities.

India

Demonetization laudable but will take time to overcome. Structural story intact but temporary reset of expectations.

Thailand

Value has returned but fundamentals do not excite. Local institutions have supported the market.

Australia

Macro holds up well and is supported by the strong housing market. Solid dividends underpin the market.

Cautious

 

Malaysia

High valuations combined with muted growth outlook. Ringgit undervalued but limited options for value investors.

Indonesia

Expensive market. Economy has stabilized and inflation in check. Earnings revisions remain weak.

Hong Kong

Fears over US interest rates remain. Economy is weak with lower property prices and less China spending.

 

M: Can you comment on the macro risks in the global economy, such as the change in leadership in the US, and the significant headwinds faced by emerging markets? How do these risks affect your investment decisions?

R: The macro risks of the Chinese economy have been holding back investors from Asia for a few years now. However, the Chinese economy has stabilized now and the fears over an imminent collapse have abated. Of course one can have doubts about the sustainability of the debt buildup but we think flows will return to the region once the sense of crisis fades.

Higher US rates have seen some money flow out of Asian government bond markets but as long as the move is contained it shouldn’t hold back Asian equity markets.

The risk of a stronger dollar and a trade war may also keep investors away but we believe expectations are now too low. A lose-lose situation would arise from a trade war between the US and China. Unlikely that President Trump would head in that direction.

M: How is your investment team organized? Have there been any changes to the investment team or structure over the past year? Do you anticipate adding to the team in the near future?

R: Robeco’s Asia Pacific Equities capability is managed by the Asia Pacific team, located in Hong Kong. The team was founded in 2007, when the current Head of the Team, Arnout van Rijn, brought the then outsourced strategy to Russell Multimanagers back in-house. The team currently consists of eight portfolio managers and three research analysts and is supported by a dedicated client portfolio manager. 

On average, the team members have an experience in the asset management industry of 14 years, of which 8 years with Robeco. Arnout van Rijn has been working with Michiel van Voorst, the lead portfolio manager of Robeco’s high-conviction Asian Equities strategy (Robeco Asian Stars), since 2005. As a result, our Asia Pacific Equities capability benefits from a team of professionals with hands-on experience over the full market cycle.

All portfolio managers combine top-down research with bottom-up stock selection. To make sure they can challenge each other optimally, portfolio managers have both country and sector responsibilities. In this way the Korean specialist, for example, gets a thorough second opinion on Korean banks from the financial specialist in the team.

In 2016, we strength our on-the-ground research capabilities in China with a new research team based in our new WFOE office in Shanghai, China.  The new research team consists of three members led by Jie Lu, Head of Research China and it’s an integral part of Robeco’s Hong Kong headquartered Asia Pacific Investment team. 

M: Can you highlight any areas where you feel that the investment team or the investment process can be improved upon?

R: Current assets under management in our Pan-Asian equity strategies amount to USD 7 bln and have seen steady growth since the start of the current investment set-up in November 2007.  We have been expanding the team over the years as the AuM grew, especially last year with the new China A-share research team.  Despite our rapid growth, people continues to be one of the most important aspects and we believe our strong teamwork has been instrumental to our success.  As we continue to expand, our key priority is to make sure the teamwork stays intact.

Robeco is one of the first few asset managers to see the benefits of ESG analysis in investment process.  We have been systematically integrating ESG information to our Asia Pacific strategy, specifically on corporate governance.  In addition to integrating ESG information, we also believe engagement with investee companies on financially material sustainability issues will have a positive impact on our investment results and on society. Within Robeco Group investors, sustainability investing researchers and engagement specialists work closely together focusing on jointly determined financially material themes.

Our Governance and Active Ownership team has recently expanded their coverage in Asia Pacific with a new engagement specialist and we will leverage this expanded coverage to strengthen our current ESG research and implementation.

 

View all Morningstar Hong Kong Fund Awards 2017 articles here

 

作者簡介 Nelly Poon

Nelly Poon  

Nelly Poon is an editor with Morningstar.