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STANLIB fund triumph shows it’s fine to be eurocentric






BEING Eurocentric in global investment markets pays off handsomely, if the award-winning success of STANLIB’s European Fund of Funds is anything to go by. The fund, one of the top performers in the product line-up at South Africa’s largest unit trust company, last night (Wed. Feb. 1) won the honours in the rand-based foreign equity fund category of the annual Raging Bull Awards. The award was collected by Paul Hansen, head of retail investing at STANLIB and manager of the company’s European Fund of Funds. Last year, the unit trust achieved 26.5% growth in rand terms and averaged annual growth of 10.85% over three years – twice the gains of its only direct competitor. Hansen commented: “Last year, most attention was focused on strong equity gains in the domestic market. The performance of our European fund was a reminder that substantial returns are possible offshore while actively managing risk through international diversification. “The award confirms the appropriateness of last year’s decision to adopt a fund-of-funds structure to enable broader allocations into some aggressive and small-cap funds with significant exposure to some high growth economies in Eastern and Central Europe. “Well researched stock selection in some extremely dynamic markets added significant upside. The net effect was to balance positions in well established, blue-chip companies based in Western Europe and the UK with high growth counters from further east.” The previous structure encouraged an institutional focus with heavy reliance on major corporate players in fully developed economies. Hansen said the success of the new strategy of injecting a high growth component into the previous mix could be measured by reference to the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50, an index of Europe’s biggest listed groups. In 2005, the STANLIB European Fund of Funds achieved more than double the growth recorded by this key benchmark. The Raging Bull Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of the unit trust industry, were presented at a glittering gala dinner in Camps Bay, Cape Town. The awards programme is organised by the Association of Collective Investments and Personal Finance
Source: CAROL DUNDAS for Stanlib
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