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Tomorrow's Buffett? Top 20 PMs aged 40 and under

Tomorrow's Buffett? Top 20 PMs aged 40 and under

These names may not be well-known today, but could be tomorrow’s Warren Buffett, George Soros or Jeffrey Gundlach.

It’s fair to say that portfolio management is not a young person’s game and is dominated by veterans, most of whom are men.

Of the 15,000 managers whom Citywire tracks the average age is 49 and 89% of them are male. The age range is extreme, with the oldest coming in at a respectable 77 and the youngest a mere 24 years of age.

In this article we take a look at 20 of the top managers worldwide who are aged 40 and under.

The managers are ranked based on their risk-adjusted returns over three years until the end of January. 

It should be noted that only 15% of the 15,000 fund managers around the world that Citywire tracks were forthcoming with their age. The rest, as many of us do, preferred to save their blushes and maintain the illusion of eternal youth.

What makes this list so special is just how tough the past three years have been for active fund management, with only 27% of portfolio managers outperforming their indices globally. Not only have the managers on this list outperformed, but they have smashed their benchmarks with all receiving the highest possible Citywire rating, AAA, over that period. 

Top talent age 40 and under

RankNameAgeManager RatioFund NameCompany NameSector
1Brian Steeves 311.81Transamerica Intermediate MuniBelle Haven InvestmentsBonds - US Dollar Municipal
2Øyvind Fjell381.77Delphi NordicStorebrand Asset Management ASEquity - Nordic
3Vinay Agarwal391.67First State Indian SubcontinentFirst StateEquity - India
    First State Regional India Equity - India
4Chirag Mehta361.51Quantum Equity Fund of Funds-GrowthQuantum Asset ManagementEquity - India
5Douglas Lawson401.39TB Amati UK Smaller CompaniesAmatiEquity - UK Smaller Companies
6Juhamatti Pukka321.37Evli Short Corporate BondEvliBonds - Euro Corporates Short Term
7Isaac Thong311.36JPMorgan Vietnam OpportunitiesJP Morgan Asset ManagementEquity - Emerging Markets Asia
8David Raper401.21Comgest Growth Greater ChinaComgestEquity - Greater China
    Comgest Growth Asia Pac ex Japan Equity - Asia Pacific Excluding Japan
    Comgest Growth Asia ex Japan Equity - Asia Pacific Excluding Japan
9Milind Bafna341.19Birla Sun Life Pure Value Fund-GrowthBirla Sun LifeEquity - India
10Valdur Jaht361.12Avaron Eastern Europe Fixed Income FundAvaron Asset ManagementBonds - Emerging Markets Other
    Avaron Emerging Europe Fund Equity - Emerging Markets Europe
11Prashant Kothari321.12Pictet-Indian EquitiesPictetEquity - India
12Paul Gibson391.01FP Matterley UK & International GrowthMatterleyEquity - Global (High UK)
13Andreas Hug400.98Pictet CH-Swiss Mid Small CapPictetEquity - Switzerland Small & Medium Companies
14Martin Pavlík340.95Conseq Invest EquityCONSEQ INVESTEquity - Emerging Markets Europe
15Richard Watts390.92Old Mutual UK Mid CapOld Mutual Global InvestorsEquity - UK Medium Companies
16Christian Scherrer400.91LGT Sustainable Equity Fund GlobalLGT Capital Partners LtdEquity - Global
17Vegard Søraunet370.88ODIN SverigeODINEquity - Sweden
    ODIN Sverige Equity - Sweden
18Jelena Rozenfeld350.84Trigon Russia Top Picks FundAS TRIGONEquity - Russia
19Grégoire Laverne350.83Roche-Brune Europe ActionsRoche BruneEquity - Europe
    Roche-Brune Zone Euro Actions Equity - EuroZone
20Per Wehrmann400.83Deutsche Invest I Euro High Yield CorpDeutsche Asset ManagementBonds - Euro High Yield

Top performers

Occupying top spot is Belle Haven Investments’ Brian Steeves, manager of the Transamerica Intermediate Muni fund. At 31 years old, Steeves, who hails from Wappingers Falls, New York, is among the youngest managers in our database.

Municipal bonds, have had a great three years with portfolio managers in this category regularly topping our global lists, as the steady risk-reward profile in this market has been ripe for consistent outperformance.

However, after an astonishing run the last three months of 2016 was something of a cold shower, with the intermediate index falling 4%. This resulted in some $20 billion of outflows from actively-managed muni portfolios.

This left the sector with a small negative return of -0.3% for the full calendar year. Despite the turbulent end to 2016, Steeves’ strategy still broke even. There is an old adage that an active manager really proves their worth when times get tough, so watch this space.

The category with the most managers represented on this list was Indian equities. Four of the 20 managers ply their trade here and all of them are Indian-educated, reflecting the truly global nature of investment.

Top of this set is 39-year-old Vinay Agarwal, who comes in third on the list for his management of the First State Indian Subcontinent and First State Regional India funds. First State is one of the premier emerging market fund shops in the world and its expertise in India has been the source of much of their outperformance in recent years.

As mentioned above portfolio management this is an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry and only one manager on the list is female. Based in Estonia, 35-year-old Jelena Rozenfeld is manager of the Trigon Russia Top Picks fund. Russian equities have been on a tear in recent months and Rozenfeld has taken advantage, putting up some truly impressive numbers.

The fund has returned 98.7% in dollar terms over the past 12 months, nearly double the 56.2% made by the Russian RTS index over that time. What makes her returns so impressive is that even during the tougher times she did not underperform the index.

Rozenfeld is not the only Estonian fund manager on the list, with 36-year-old Valdur Jaht also making the cut. Jaht manages the Avaron Emerging Europe fund which invests in emerging Europe excluding Russia.

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