2020 Olympics: which funds would feature in track and field events?

The 2020 Olympics Games will finally open in Tokyo on Friday. 12 months later than planned, with no spectators and athletes testing positive for Covid - they will be far different to the spectacular we have come to anticipate.

But with the hope that records will still be broken and athletes from around the world will give us many performances to remember, we take a light-hearted look at which funds and managers could compete in some of the most popular track and field events:

The 100m final: funds that can race ahead

T. Rowe US Smaller Companies Equity has a flexible approach. The manager looks for both growth and value opportunities in the small-cap space, to build a diverse portfolio of the best ideas. He will allow his winners to run as long as he still believes there is a return opportunity. As such, the portfolio is likely to have more of a mid-cap bias than its peers and it will also invest in areas such as biotech, which other generalist funds often avoid.

VT Downing Unique Opportunities’ manager has been a low-key industry success story, successfully running a variety of UK funds over the past 20 years or so. This new launch is the culmination of her investment experience. Her edge comes from her ability to look beyond the one to two-year period the broking community focuses on to forecast returns. She targets companies that have sustained competitive advantages, with low debt and good management teams.

The marathon: funds for the long term

Matthews Pacific Tiger is the flagship fund of this San Francisco-based company. It is a high conviction, low turnover portfolio with an emphasis on domestically or regionally oriented companies that stand to benefit from the long-term evolution and growth of the Asian consumer. Although the fund can invest across all market capitalisations, it does tend to favour mid and small-cap companies.

FSSA Global Emerging Markets Focus is a portfolio of just 40-45 best ideas selected from a universe of more than 36,000 firms. Each holding is deemed to be a quality company that can show sustained and predictable growth over the long term and the fund has a strong environmental, social and governance ethos without labelling itself as such. While relatively young, the fund has already shown a lot of potential.

The pole vault: funds with a higher level of yield

Man GLG High Yield Opportunities is an unconstrained, concentrated global high yield bond fund, driven by individual bond selection, but guided by top-down thematic ideas. The manager is supported by a team of internal credit analysts who conduct a rigorous analysis of every potential holding and their ability to meet debt obligations. He is very experienced and has an excellent track record in navigating the extra risk in the sector whilst achieving above average returns and a high yield.

TM RWC Global Equity Income is a new launch, but the team – led by Nick Clay – is highly experienced, and the investment strategy is well-proven. The team has a true contrarian nature backed up by a logical and disciplined philosophy. This leads to an attractively yielding income fund (every holding must yield at least 25% more than the broader market at the point of purchase) that also allows for capital return from a concentrated portfolio.

The decathlon: multi-discipline funds

VT Chelsea Managed Monthly Income invests in income funds, whose underlying assets may include UK and overseas equities, bonds, gold, property, infrastructure and targeted absolute return strategies. It targets an above-market income that is sustainable and consistent, as well as some capital growth and the team thinks of delivering a sustainable income as a bit like a jigsaw puzzle – all the pieces have to be in place for the picture to come together.

Close Managed Income is a multi-manager fund aiming to provide capital growth and income by investing in both actively managed funds and exchange traded funds. It sits on the conservative side of the risk spectrum, with preservation of capital a strong focus alongside income generation. This is a steady offering with income generation at the centre of its process.

400m hurdles: funds to navigate the ups and downs of stock markets

Sanlam Enterprise is a long/short equity fund (it makes money from falling, as well as rising share prices), which invests primarily in the UK. The fund has been designed to provide equity-like performance, but with fewer ups and downs. The managers use a wide range of trusted sources to identify investment themes and stock ideas, and it is these that drive performance. This fund has a performance fee.

M&G Macro Global Bond is a 'go-anywhere' bond fund. The manager can invest in any bond issued by governments and companies absolutely anywhere in the world. He can also invest in any currency. In deciding where to invest, he will use his considerable skill to take a view on macroeconomic conditions and combine this view with the stock-picking skill of his team to create a portfolio that should benefit from both long-term trends and short-term tactical investments.

Archery: funds with a specific target 

Polar Capital Global insurance has been co-managed by Nick Martin since 2008 and he took on full responsibilities in 2016 and very few managers have his knowledge of this sector. Everything around us is insured, regardless of economic boom or bust, which provides this fund with very good defensive characteristics. The fund’s consistent track record offers a good return profile for portfolio diversification.

BMO European Real Estate Securities provides access to a portfolio of real estate securities listed in the UK and Europe. The size and strength of the team differentiate this fund from some of its competitors, as does the unique way the managers use the full range of tools available to them - namely by shorting unfavoured stocks – which enables them to express a wider range of views and better manage risk.

Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. The views expressed are those of the author and do not constitute financial advice.

Published on 20/07/2021