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What's New In Investments, Funds? - Vontobel, AXA, Others

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , 3 September 2020

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The latest offerings in investments, such as funds, structured products, specific programmes and developments.

Vontobel
Vontobel Asset Management has launched the Vontobel Fund II – KAR US Small-Mid Cap in partnership with Kayne Anderson Rudnick, an affiliated manager of Virtus Investment Partners, to provide investors with access to US small- and mid-cap equities.

The fund aims to generate attractive risk-adjusted long-term returns by investing in the stocks of US small- and mid-cap companies with durable competitive advantages, excellent management, and lower financial risk. The US small-mid cap universe provides access to almost 3,500 companies.

The fund is domiciled in Luxembourg and its share class is in dollars. The share class is institutional with a 0.825 per cent annual management fee. 

AXA Investment Managers 
AXA Investment Managers has launched the AXA WF Multi Asset Optimal Impact fund.

The fund invests in securities “demonstrating a positive social and environmental impact” while aiming to generate financial performance based on strong convictions and a flexible approach to navigate the changing macroeconomic environment more effectively. 

The fund has a particular focus on the environment – especially climate change – as well as social themes including health and human capital. It aims to follow the UN's SDGs:

Environment: energy transition – smart energy, sustainable transport, sustainable industry and resource scarcity i.e. recycling and preservation; health and wellbeing: personal security and healthcare solutions; inclusion: financial inclusion, housing and basic infrastructure, and empowerment: women, human capital and livelihoods.

The fund can invest from zero to 100 per cent in debt securities, including inflation-linked, green, social and sustainable bonds, and from zero to 75 per cent in equities. This leeway could help to capture growth upside when markets are improving, and may limit downside risks when markets are in decline, AXA said. 

A mix of quantitative and qualitative filters is applied, alongside a combination of top-down ESG research and bottom-up analysis. The fund is run by Serge Pizem, head of multi-asset at AXA IM, and his team. The fund is part of the Optimal Income range and 5 per cent of its management fees will be donated to charities.

SuMi TRUST
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management, the Asian asset manager with more than $626 billion of assets under management, has launched a new Japanese equities fund for institutional investors.

The Japan Growth Opportunity fund aims to beat the Japanese TOPIX index by 4.0 per cent per year by investing in Japanese companies with high-growth potential. The portfolio will comprise 50-80 listed Japanese equities.

The fund will be managed by Hiroyasu Sato who has 30 years’ experience in the industry. Hiroyasu joined SuMi TRUST in 2019 from a Japanese asset management firm where he managed its flagship Japanese equity fund, an all-cap growth orientated strategy for international investors, for seven years. 

The fund’s stock selection process will focus on the beneficiaries of long-term trends in the economy, such as Japan’s ageing population, combined with a catalyst strategy, picking out companies that generate momentum through M&A or intelligent restructuring. The research and selection process will be entirely bottom-up.

The top holdings of the fund currently include Kikkoman Corporation, a Japanese food manufacturer, Shoei, a manufacturer of ‎motorcycle and motorsport helmets, and Nihon M&A Center, a company providing strategic M&A advice and support services to small and medium-sized business. The fund is currently overweight in industrials and information technology services and is underweight in financial services companies.

Somerset
Somerset Capital Management, which is a specialist global emerging markets investment company, has launched an emerging markets fund, structured as a UCITS entity. 

The Somerset Emerging Markets Future Leaders Fund will mainly invest in medium-sized businesses which derive most earnings in emerging markets, with a market cap range generally between $750 million and $13 billion. 

Co-managers are Edward Robertson and Anthony Linehan.

The new fund will be seeded with about $350 million from the Swedish National Pension Fund, Första AP-fonden (AP1), a company which Somerset has worked with since 2013. AP1 was also the seed investor of the firm’s $60 million Somerset Frontier Markets Fund in 2018.

Somerset said that the fund, which holds a portfolio of 40-50 companies forming part of the Somerset Emerging Markets Mid Cap Strategy, was first launched in July 2012; it is co-managed by Edward Robertson and Anthony Linehan. Companies in the fund have a typical holding of three to five years. There is daily dealing in the fund, which is domiciled in Dublin.

Lombard Odier Investment Managers
Lombard Odier Investment Managers, has launched a new China strategy, expanding its global high-conviction equity offering.

LOIM’s China High Conviction strategy invests in high-quality companies with sustainable business models that have the potential to deliver attractive economic returns over the long term. The strategy captures several investment themes across a diversified portfolio of 30 to 50 stocks, balanced across three buckets (quality value, high growth and corporate events) to navigate through different market cycles.

The strategy is managed by LOIM’s Asia investment team – the portfolio managers are Zhikai Chen, Roxy Wong, Odile Lange-Broussy and Jinwen Ouyang.

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