The Asia Pacific region is often viewed as 'emerging', and that is certainly true of countries such as China, India or Indonesia. Most global emerging markets funds will have a large chunk of assets in the region. But the region also includes developed markets such as Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Investors in the region generally should have a longer-term outlook for their investment, as performance can be volatile. The past year has seen some of the best returns available among global equities. But that followed two relatively poor years.
Compared with developed western economies, demographic trends and economic growth are far superior, as is consumption growth, so the case for investing in the region is undeniably strong.
Because institutional investors devote comparatively less research effort to the region, it is one where well-managed active funds should be expected to beat passive index-trackers in the medium to long term. Over three years, superior gains in excess of 60 per cent have widely been made.
For 2017 the number of Rated Funds in the Asian equities asset group has been expanded from 10 to 17 to account for the variety of strategies and markets investors may wish to consider.
Previously, the world's two most populous nations, India and China, were under-represented in this asset group. Two funds and trusts for each country have been added under the Emerging Asia category.
The asset group is further split into pan-Asian funds and trusts that usually invest in companies listed in the region's developed markets. In this sub-section we have included two Rated Funds that focus on income, another that includes Japanese equities, and a brace that believe sustainability and standards of corporate governance are the prime drivers of strong long-term gains.
Size is a subjective concept in equity markets: one person's small company might be much larger than another's. Nevertheless we have split out a further three Rated Funds that specifically target smaller and medium-sized companies, which in the short term at least are likely to be among the more risky choices.