Martin Currie has launched an offshore technology fund that hopes to profit from the long-term potent...
The Martin Currie Technology Fund is part of the Martin Currie Global Funds SICAV and will be open for business from 12 April onwards.
The launch period will be 12-14 April 2000, during which time the initial charge will be dropped from 5% to 3%.
Martin Currie has capped the total expense ratio for the fund.
This means that total fees extracted from the fund will never be greater than 2% of the fund's average size over the year.
The minimum investment in the fund $5,000 and the annual management charge is 1.5%.
The company's technology team, responsible for around $4bn of technology investments, will run the fund, headed by Grant Wilson.
In the model portfolio they have constructed, the US accounts for a 45%, Europe 35% and rest in Asia.
This is significantly below the benchmark and distinguishes this rather late entry to the race for tech money from its fellow competitors.
Wilson said: "We are not a US technology fund that happens to have Mannesman. We adjudicate across national boundaries. The time is right for us."
The investment process was designed around the fundamental premise that the world of technology is not separable by national boundaries.
Wilson believes the Vodafone/Mannesman deal was indicative of a trend that his team, as global experts, rather than as US specialists, will be an a position to profit from, whether from M&A activity or from transnational co-operation.
The top holdings in the model portfolio are Mannesman, Intel, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, IBM and Nokia. The team follows around 350 companies, of which the fund will hold 50 to 70 at any time.
Wilson sees various technological patterns moving throughout the world economy. Stocks will be chosen preferentially depending on their adherence to these patterns.
Themes include the rocketing size of global data transfer needs.
As the online community grows exponentially and larger amounts of data flow regularly through the internet, Wilson looks for companies at the forefront of providing the required network infrastructure.
With the growth of e-commerce, Wilson is also interested in those businesses which successfully use these new means of communication to complement their business models and increase revenue.
A third area is the mobile telephony arena. He expects demand for 'third generation' mobile phones to accelerate.
Sandy Dudgeon, chairman of the SICAV, said: "Technology and telecoms stocks have been the engine of the greatest bull run in history.
"Will that continue? Selectively, we think so. That's why we've decided to launch the fund, but it's one that takes a different approach to what's already on offer elsewhere."
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