Last year's top-performing offshore funds were dominated by two sectors: Russia and biotechnology. ...
Last year's top-performing offshore funds were dominated by two sectors: Russia and biotechnology.
Of the top 30 performing funds for the 12 months up to 1 November 2000, 22 fell into one of those two categories, 10 were Russian funds, while 12 were investors in healthcare and biotechnology.
The top performer was the Ashmore Russian Debt fund, with a 235% return over the 12 months to November.
The next-best performing Russia fund was the Firebird New Russia Fund, which came in fourth place with 171.37%.
Number 20 in the list of best performers is ranked six in the Russian equity fund sector. It is the Schroder Russian Region fund and has returned 107.55% in the 12 months to November. In determining the success of the sector, the manager points to favourable inflation and, crucially, a supportive political environment.
However, the price for this performance has been high volatility, all these funds feature standard deviation scores of just under 20%.
Meanwhile the biotechs in the top 30 settled at closer to 14% standard deviation on average. As would be expected, this compares poorly with the average volatility for all the offshore funds S&P lists, which is 5.07%.
In similar measure, these funds are hugely above the norm for the year, over which time returns from S&P's 6,006 offshore funds have managed to stay pretty much flat, hovering at an average 0.08% return over the 12 month period.
The top ranking biotechs are significantly larger than their Russian counterparts. The largest fund in the top five and the second largest in the top 25 is the Clariden Biotechnology Equity fund. The $600m portfolio's 181% performance can be attributed largely to the scientific environment.
The human genome has been decoded and a full sequence description will soon be available.
This has led to an explosion in the share prices of companies that work on pharmacogenomics, aiming to produce the next generation of diagnostic tests. Clariden is very excited by another, relatively new area of research: proteomics. In this companies try to characterise proteins in advance of clinical trials.
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