fund of funds specialists also favour robin geffen, derek stuart and leigh harrison
BWD's Mark Hall and Mark Costar of JO Hambro are the two managers most tipped by fund of funds specialists as ones to watch in 2003.
In an Investment Week survey of five fund of funds and multi-managers' top three picks of underrated and rising star fund managers, Hall and Costar were the two most commonly cited names.
Hall's BWD Aggressive Growth fund was the top performing UK All Companies vehicle in the calendar year 2002, beating more established players at larger fund groups. It was the also the only fund in its sector to post a positive return.
Aidan Kearney, head of multi-manager at Artemis, said: 'Mark Hall and the team at BWD have done very well with the Aggressive Growth fund and it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their performance.'
Raj Hallen, head of fund research at Premier, added: 'Hall has a flexible approach. The fund is pretty focused and he does not have to take too many large bets and he is a proven stockpicker.'
Mark Costar, manager of JOHambro UK fund, received a number of plaudits for his investment process and performance with nods from Kearney, Hallen and Richard Philbin, head of fund of funds at Isis.
Philbin noted: 'Although Costar has been around quite a long time, previously running money at Clerical Medical, he really seems to have found his niche at JO Hambro.'
Mark Harris, head of multi-manager at Edinburgh Fund Managers, pointed to Robin Geffen, manager of Neptune UK Equity, the second best performing UK All Companies fund in 2002, as one to watch.
Geffen's fund remains under £2m in size, affording him great flexibility. Hallen added the fund was not only the second best fund in performance terms last year, but also the second best of 285 on a risk adjusted returns basis. Lee Gardhouse, head of multi-manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, also points to Leigh Harrison and Derek Stuart at Credit Suisse and Artemis, respectively. While also not new to the industry, Gardhouse believes both have been largely overshadowed by their better known colleagues, but are now starting to carve out their own reputations.
'We have actually switched from Bill Mott's Income fund to Leigh Harrison's Extra Income fund, which was one of the top performing equity income fund last year. With Mott's top-down views and Harrison's stockpicking ability Credit Suisse have a potent combination,' Gardhouse said. 'Similarly, we hear a lot about Mark Tyndall and John Dodd at Artemis, but Derek Stuart's Special Situations fund was the top performing fund of all the team last year.'
Gardhouse also believe Adrian Paterson, who recently succeeded Tyndall as manager of Artemis UK Growth, will provide consistently strong performance. He noted Paterson, formerly of Jupiter, seemed reinvigorated after a lengthy sabbatical and was looking forward to running money again.
While the fixed interest universe seems to be dominated by more experienced managers, Kearney notes Hendersons' John Pattullo is emerging as a strong name in his own right after previously being regarded more as a part of a successful team, somewhat in the shadow of the now retired Ian Dickson. He added Pattullo is a very pragmatic investor and should steer the Preference & Bond fund he inherited from Dickson toward the top of its sector this year.
On the team front, Philbin and Gardhouse enthused about BDT, the Asia and emerging markets boutique formed by Rob Brewis, Simon Dobson and Henry Thornton and recently joined by Andrew Callender from Invesco Perpetual.
Kearney has invested in BDT's long only Dublin-domiciled Asia fund and notes the portfolio is run on an absolute return mandate with the freedom to invest up to 30% in cash if required.
Philbin also points to the MFS UK Equity and Continental European Equity funds as examples of a successful team-based approach to fund management. Both vehicles are run by teams of analysts and have delivered top quartile numbers since launch.
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