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Taking the crown: the five best European equity managers revealed

As European markets start to strengthen, we highlight five players majorly outperforming the benchmark.

The five top performing European equity managers are nearly doubling their peers in the sector, according to Citywire analysis.

Following Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election in early May, Europe’s political risk alert levels dropped significantly and investors have been piling into European equity stocks since.

Inflows into European exchange traded funds (ETFs) have reached a record $74 billion year-to-date, more than double the net inflow at this point last year, according to research firm ETFGI.

Aside from the fading political risk, investors are also finding more value versus the US and the region has also seen a recovery in corporate earnings.

Of the 451 European equities managers tracked by Citywire, we’ve highlighted the five best performers over five years. Over the five years ending in July 2017, the average manager returned 52.1%. The FTSE World Europe TR EUR returned 60.4% over the same period.

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5. Dean Smith

Fund:TT European Equity

UK-based Dean Smith has been managing TT International’s European equity strategies since 1999. In a investment note published in August, Smith said the strength of European economies was ‘robust and widespread’ making for a ‘lucrative environment for stock pickers’. The TT European Equity fund’s regional allocation is the UK, which makes up nearly a third of the fund.

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4. David Robinson

Melchior Selected Trust European Opportunities

David Robinson is a fund manager at London-based Dalton Strategic Partnership, having joined the group in 2005 and launched the fund in May 2010. He uses a bottom-up stock selection process to find high quality players in niche markets to populate his concentrated portfolio of around 45 stocks.

According to his most recent commentary, the latest contributors to performance included Swedish online bank Skandiabanken and Italian financial service company Fineco.

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3. Carl Auffret

Fund: DNCA Invest Europe Growth, DNCA Invest Norden Europe

Paris-based Carl Auffret has been heading DNCA’s European growth strategy since December 2012 and works alongside manager Yingying Wu.

A third of the fund is currently allocated to Auffret’s native France, also home to the company taking up 6% of the $985 million European growth portfolio, Téléperformance. Much like some others on this list, the Citywire AAA-rated manager has a high exposure to the region’s healthcare stocks.

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2. Eva Fornadi

Fund: Comgest Growth Greater Europe Opportunities

Second in our ranking is Eva Fornadi, who manages the Comgest Growth Greater Europe Opportunities fund alongside Franz Weis and Rebecca Kaddoum (both Citywire AA-rated). Fornadi’s highest allocation and top overweight is in healthcare, followed by IT. She also has a strong underweight in financials. At the end of July, she had allocated 1.6% to the sector while the benchmark puts around a fifth of its assets into financials.

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1. Oliver Kelton

Fund: Odey European Focus

Despite more recent underperformance, in our number one spot is Oliver Kelton of UK boutique Odey Asset Management. Kelton initially built up his European strategy while with Waverton Investment Management. He moved to Odey in July 2015, taking his strategy with him.

His Odey European Focus fund, according to a factsheet for the end of July, was holding almost a third of its fund in cash.

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