Morningstar’s European Fund Manager of the Year Awards

We give only three of these prestigious, qualitative awards a year - for the best European Equity, European Global Equity and European Fixed-Income managers

Morningstar News Team 17 February, 2014 | 1:02PM
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The fifth annual Morningstar European Fund Manager of the Year Awards are almost upon us, with the winners to be revealed at a gala following the first day of the Morningstar Europe Investment Conference in Amsterdam on March 27. We give only three of these prestigious, qualitative awards given for all of Europe each year:  European Equity Fund Manager of the Year; European Global Equity Fund Manager of the Year; and European Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year.

The winners of these awards are nominated and selected by Morningstar’s 30 plus strong team of qualitative fund analysts across Europe.  Only managers who our analysts rate highly - meaning we have recognised them as Morningstar Medallists with a Gold, Silver, or Bronze rating - are eligible for nomination.  To be a Morningstar Medallist, funds are put through a rigorous evaluation using our five-pillars methodology. The analysts weigh the quality of management, the strength of the process used to run the fund, the quality of the parent organisation - including how it treats investors in its funds—performance, and costs.

Nominated managers should have had a strong 2013, but most importantly, they should have shown an ability to serve investors well over the long-term. Some of the funds nominated are not available to UK investors.

European Equity Fund Manager of the Year

Manager name: Tim Stevenson

Nominated for work on: Henderson Horizon Pan European Equity; Henderson Euro Trust (HNE)

It is not often that we come across a fund manager who has served investors consistently well for over two decades; indeed longstanding managers are becoming a rarity. Fund manager Tim Stevenson joined Henderson Global Investors in 1986 and he has been associated with European equities since. Stevenson has run the Henderson EuroTrust Plc single-handedly since 1992 and he later took charge of Henderson Horizon Pan European Equities fund upon its launch in 2001. We value the manager's long experience in the industry but we also think that Stevenson has put this experience to excellent use, building a deep knowledge of companies in his sector which has led to the successful implementation of his process.

Manager name: Nicolas Walewski

Nominated for work on: Alken European Opportunities

Nicolas Walewski has accumulated 20 years of investment experience. He founded Alken Asset Management in December 2005, where he has built a compact but well qualified team of five sector analysts and one co-manager. Walewski’s investment style is largely opportunistic: he is interested in “forgotten” stocks, in businesses where all or certain assets are undervalued by the market, or where he believes he has identified new sources of profit growth. Whatever the investment thesis may be, Walewski prefers companies with credible management teams, capable of realising the business’ high profitability potential. He tries to avoid market excesses and may indeed be contrarian in his investment choices, as evidenced by the decision to stay away from the commodity/emerging markets super cycle over the past few years.

Manager name: Isabel Levy

Nominated for work on: Metropole Sélection

With more than 20 years of experience in asset management, Isabelle Levy was one of the founders of Metropole Gestion in 2002. Since then, she has headed a stable and experienced team which now consists of seven managers with 17 years of experience on average. That experience is key to our confidence here as the team’s approach requires a high degree of knowledge and conviction in their analysis. Levy and her colleagues target undervalued large and mid-cap European stocks and are willing to take highly contrarian stances. For Metropole Sélection, the firm’s flagship fund, they construct a highly concentrated portfolio of around 25 holdings, leaving little room for error in stock-picking. Despite the risks inherent in such a compact portfolio, Levy has proven her skills in this area many times.

European Global Equity Fund Manager of the Year

Manager name: Stuart Rhodes

Nominated for work on: M&G Global Dividend

Stuart Rhodes has been part of M&G’s global equity team since 2005 and has risen to become a key fund manager at one of the largest asset managers in Europe in a relatively short period of time. Rhodes began managing M&G’s Global Dividend at its launch in 2008 and is now responsible for one of the biggest global dividend funds in the world with assets of more than £8.5 billion. The consistency of returns across different market cycles, some of which have been unfavourable to the dividend style of investing, is testament to Rhodes’ quality as a manager.

Manager name: J. Kristoffer C. Stensrud & Team

Nominated for work on: Skagen Kon-Tiki

Veteran manager Kristoffer Stensrud had yet another stellar year in 2013, outperforming his peers by 10.6 percentage points in euro terms. While 2013 may have been exceptionally good, Stensrud is in no way unfamiliar with beating his benchmark, having managed to outperform his benchmark in 19 of the last 20 calendar years at the fund house. He’s been at the helm of Skagen Kon-Tiki since its 2002 inception, and under his command the fund has been able to outperform its next highest-returning competitor by more than one percentage point per annum over the ten years ending 31 December 2013. Stensrud also has a trait we love to see, namely a large personal investment in Skagen funds, which helps align his interests with those of fund investors.

Manager name: Vincent Strauss and Wojciech Stanislawski

Nominated for work on: Comgest Growth Emerging Markets, Magellan

Vincent Strauss and Wojciech Stanislawski are veteran emerging-markets investors, having joined Comgest in 1994 and 1999 respectively. Such stability is a hallmark of Comgest, whose 17 emerging-markets portfolio managers and analysts work in a highly collegial environment. Portfolio managers are based in Paris as well as locally in Hong-Kong, Singapore, and Mumbai. Strauss and Stanislawski distinguish themselves through their unwillingness to compromise on Comgest’s stringent investment criteria, best summarised as “quality” and growth” in that order. As such, they will not invest in highly cyclical names and they avoided banks well before the 2007-2008 meltdown. Both managers are personally invested in the funds they run, and they consider investors as long term partners rather than merely sources of asset growth.

European Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year

Manager name: Michael Krautzberger

Nominated for work on: BGF Euro Bond

Michael Krautzberger joined the firm in 2005 and brought with him a wealth of experience, having spent the past fifteen years running global and euro bond mandates at Union Investment and DWS. As Head of Euro Fixed Income, he has built a very strong franchise at the firm, applying successfully his risk controlled investment approach to a wide range of Euro bond strategies. In addition, he has made good use of BlackRock’s well-resourced global fixed income team of experienced investors and analysts, who provide invaluable input into the process.

Strong risk adjusted returns over the long term are testament to the strength of this risk controlled process and the skills of the manager.

Manager name: Mikael Lundström

Nominated for work on: Evli Corporate Bond; Evli European High Yield

Corporate bond investing took off in Finland only after the country joined the euro in 1999, and Mikael Lundström is the country’s pioneer in this market. He was instrumental in designing the process of Evli Corporate Bond, which he has steered since the fund’s launch in Sept 1999. As a resounding proof of his competence, Evli Corporate Bond has beaten its EUR Corporate Bond in all but one calendar year out of 14.

Through time Lundström has built a capable investment team of six professionals. Both funds’ success is grounded in the execution of a rigorous security selection process that focuses on the long-term viability of the businesses under analysis. The process leads Lundström to craft portfolios that typically differ markedly from their benchmarks in terms of exposures to issuers, sectors, and countries.

Manager name: Richard Klijnstra & Team

Nominated for work on: Kempen (Lux) Euro Credit

Richard Klijnstra and his team have been managing the Kempen Euro Credit Fund since May 2008. During this period they have established an exceptional strong track record. Klijnstra has 15 years of relevant experience and leads the team together with Alain van der Heijden and Rik den Hartog. Both Den Hartog en Van der Heijden have been part of the Kempen Euro Credit team for almost their entire career.

Their approach is straightforward, with a focus on adding value through both top-down allocation (portfolio beta positioning and sector allocation) and bottom-up selection within a limited risk budget. The team uses thorough in-house credit analysis and bottom up selection is strongly rooted in relative value analysis. In the context of their risk budget, they prefer to take small diversified bets across a range of potential performance drivers. The quality of the team’s execution is corroborated by its consistent ability to employ diversified alpha sources.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Alken European Opportunities A290.15 EUR0.63Rating
BGF Euro Bond A117.42 EUR-0.26Rating
Comgest Growth Emerging Mkts USD Acc32.71 USD0.14Rating
Henderson EuroTrust Ord163.00 GBX-0.91Rating
Janus Henderson Hrzn Pan Eurp Eq G2 EUR  
M&G Global Dividend GBP A Acc477.15 GBP-0.84Rating
Oddo BHF Metropole Selection E359.15 EUR-0.24Rating
SKAGEN Kon-Tiki B GBP93.91 GBP-0.64Rating

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