Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon
Winner of Money Observer’s Best Japan Trust award in 2017, this is the stablemate to Baillie Gifford Japan, but differs in that it focuses exclusively on high-growth smaller companies.
FundCalibre, the fund ratings and research provider, points to its pedigree as the best-performing Japanese fund, both closed and open-ended, since Shinzō Abe became prime minister.
Shin Nippon means New Japan and Praveen Kumar, the trust’s manager since the end of 2015, focuses on emerging and disrupted sectors where he sees innovative growth opportunities. He is a bottom-up stockpicker and pays little attention to the benchmark, as demonstrated by an ‘active share’ of 93 per cent.
Kumar has been a member of Baillie Gifford’s Japan equities team since 2011 and worked closely with the previous manager, the much-respected John MacDougall, under whom this trust had been a regular winner of Money Observer’s Best Japan Trust award.
The types of business Kumar favours are those that he believes have above-average growth prospects and strong, entrepreneurial management teams. He points out that the majority of Shin Nippon’s holdings are managed by younger, more progressive management than is typical in Japan.
At the end of 2017, the trust had 9 per cent of an 11 per cent gearing facility invested. It was also trading at a premium that crept into double digits, making this trust suitable for those who are very optimistic on the outlook for Japanese equities.
Such an investor is East Sussex-based Skerritts Wealth Management. Investment manager Charlie Lloyd says: ‘Japan remains one of our conviction calls in portfolios – we’re big holders of Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon.’See all Money Observer rated funds
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Praveen Kumar joined Baillie Gifford in 2008 and became an investment manager on the Japanese Equities team in 2011. He graduated BEng in Computer Science from Bangalore University in 2001, and has an MBA in Finance from Cambridge University in 2008. He previously worked for FKI Logistex before joining Baillie Gifford in 2008.
Data provided by Morningstar.
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