Over the past few months fund selectors in the US and in Latin America have often named Japan as one of the equity markets they are targeting within their portfolios.
January’s global market drop affected managers across the board in all major markets, including Japan, but up until that point Japanese equity managers had posted strong returns throughout 2015.
More than a quarter of the 188 managers running a fund across this 12 month period outperformed the Topix index which rose 11.69%.
The unexpected decision of the Bank of Japan to move interest rates into negative territory will affect holders of Japanese debt but will undoubtedly have some impact on investors in the Japanese market in the long run.
Here are the three best performing managers in the Japanese equity sector in 2015.
3. Michael Lindsell – Lindsell Train
2015 performance: 23.83%
The Citywire AA-rated Michael Lindsell is one of the two founders of UK boutique Lindsell Train was which launched in 2000. Lindsell has been running his group’s Dublin-domiciled Ucits Japanese Equity fund since 2004.
The fund is a concentrated portfolio of 20 to 35 companies run along sustainable business models and established brands. Consumer franchises are the fund’s top sector allocation at 42.8% followed by media and software companies at 25%.
Among its top holdings are cosmetic company Kao Corporation, gaming giant Nintendo and OBIC Business Consultants.
2. Robert Lloyd, Aisa Ogoshi - JP Morgan AM
Funds: JP Morgan Japan Equity
2015 performance: 24.07%
Manager duo Lloyd and Ogoshi ran the fund until September 2015 when they transferred its management over to trio Shoichi Mizusawa, Nicholas Weindling and Miyako Urabe took over these funds. The pair still remain with JP Morgan but now focus on Asia Pacific equity funds.
The fund’s performance covers all three versions of the fund, the Hong Kong, UK and Luxembourg domiciled.
It’s biggest overweight is towards the services sector which accounts for 17.3% of its sector allocation. The next largest allocation is towards electrical appliances at16.9% followed information and communication at 9.5%.
1. Hideo Shiozumi - Legg Mason
2015 performance: 41.18%
The Citywire AA-rated Hideo Shiozumi comes top of our ranking. A regular among the top performing Japanese equity manager, Shiozumi is renowned for his unique strategy and focus on the market’s small to mid-cap companies.
His fund’s top sector exposure is towards healthcare at 35.5%, followed by industrials at 22% and information technology at 20.1%.Among his top holdings are Nihon MA Center, Peptidream and Cyberdyne. As of end of December his fund was almost fully invested with only 0.6% of his portfolio in cash holdings.