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5 Minutes With: JPMorgan’s Ayaz Ebrahim

Ayaz Ebrahim, manager of the five-star rated JP Morgan Asian Investment Trust, talks about opportunities in the Asian market and his love for sushi

Annalisa Esposito 1 November, 2019 | 10:09AM

Ayaz Ebrahim, based in Hong Kong, runs the JP Morgan Asian Investment trust with co-managers Richard Titherington and Robert Lloyd. Prior joining JPMorgan, Ebrahim worked for Amundi, HSBC Global AM and Deutsche AM. The trust has returned 18.9% over three years and top holdings include e-commerce group Alibaba and smartphone maker Samsung.

What does the fund do?

Invests in Asian companies with the exception of Japan, aiming to deliver growth over the long-term. 

What's your favourite country in which to invest in Asia?

We are currently overweight Korea, Indonesia, China and India. The way we do country allocation is by looking at valuations and the GDP growth in all of these region is rising, China and India in particular are still growing at roughly 6% a year.

What’s your best ever investment?

Indian financial services firm HDFC, which I first invested in in the early 90s and is still in our top holdings. I visited the company and thought it was great - very well managed, with a conservative approach and a strong balance sheet. It has delivered annualised returns of 35% in dollar terms since then. I wish I invested in it personally, too.

And the worst?

I bought a derivative issued by a well-known Asian investment bank in the 90s. It gave exposure to stocks in India, which was a very closed market at the time so difficult to invest in directly. Unfortunately, the investment bank went under during the financial crisis so the derivative went to zero. I got the money back, but it was nerve-wracking and taught me the importance of being conservative and thinking careful about counterparty risk.

What’s the stock you wish you bought but didn’t?

Titan Industries. It came onto my radar in the early 90s when it was focused on watches but in the late 2000s it transformed into a jewellery and gold company - the share price has gone from strength to strength since.

If I wasn't a fund manager…

I would love to be a cricketer. Every time I watch a cricket game I think “if only I was talented enough to do that". 

If you weren’t investing in Asia, where else would you like to invest?

I would like to cover US equities because there is a great variety of companies and you can really stock pick. But compared to Asia it’s a more homogeneous market and outperforming the benchmark is tougher.

What would you change about the industry?

I would like firms to encourage investors to invest for a longer a period of time - at least four or five years, so they can go through a proper cycle and get the benefits of it. If only investors were more patient.

If you were stuck on a desert island, which three things would you take? 

My wife, my son and a sashimi chef.

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.

Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Rating
JPMorgan Asian Ord372.00 GBX0.27

About Author

Annalisa Esposito  is a data journalist for Morningstar.co.uk

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