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James Williams, Hedgeweek

Yacktman US Equity Fund receives Gold fund rating… Brown Brothers Harriman and GLG Partners launch new funds…

Heptagon Capital has achieved a Gold fund rating from S&P Capita IQ Fund Research for its Ireland-domiciled Yacktman US Equity Fund (based on a US mutual fund). London-based Heptagon Capital is an independent investment firm with over USD7.2billion in AuM and acts as the fund’s promoter.

Within the S&P Capital IQ US mainstream equities peer group of over 700 funds, the product is one of only 27 out of 55 graded funds to achieve a Gold grading.
Since the fund launched in December 2010 through to the end of May 2013, it has produced a top-quartile cumulative ranking in its S&P Capital IQ peer group, returning 34.2 per cent versus the peer fund median of 27.6 per cent.
Yacktman Asset Management, the sub-adviser on this fund, is an investment boutique based in Austin, Texas, from where it manages over USD23billion in focused, value-oriented equity portfolios.
The fund is managed in Yacktman's characteristic house style that aims to buy high-quality companies on low valuations for above-average medium- to long-term capital appreciation. The three key criteria are a good business, a low purchase price and a shareholder-friendly management. Emphasis is placed on forward rates of return which, when coupled with the team's conviction in a company's management and risk profile, will determine the position size in the portfolio irrespective of their index weight.
Peter Fuller, fund analyst at S&P Capital IQ Fund Research explained: “Our confidence in the firm is further enhanced by the performance of the US mutual fund - The Yacktman Fund - on which this Ucits product is based. The US mutual fund has outperformed its S&P 500 benchmark in eight of the last 13 years and cumulatively over three, five and 10 years to date.
“This strong track record from a highly stable team with a consistent, disciplined investment approach comfortably supports the fund achieving an S&P Capital IQ Gold grading.”
Warwick Ryan, UK Director at Heptagon Capital said: “We are very pleased that our Yacktman US Equity Fund has succeeded in getting a gold Grading from S&P Capital IQ Fund Research. Although Yacktman have won numerous awards for the outstanding and consistent investment results of their US Mutual Fund over the last decade, it is still very encouraging that this UCITS fund vehicle, which mimics that same strategy, is recognized as following in such illustrious footsteps, despite launching only in late 2010.”
Alternative UCITS attracted over EUR7billion in net inflows in Q2 to stand at approximately EUR103billion, according to Italian investment analytics firm MondoAlternative. Total assets across Europe reached EUR103.7billion, up from EUR96.1billion at the end of March 2013. The majority of net inflows went to fixed income funds, attracting EUR3.9billion in Q2. This asset class has now seen inflows rise by EUR8.7billion over the first six months of the year. 
Commenting on the figures, Stefano Gaspari, CEO, MondoAlternative, said: “Despite a difficult environment in second quarter of 2013, especially in June, alternative Ucits funds continue to attract investors due to their absolute return objectives. 

“The biggest contributors to the growth are a bunch of products, mainly in the fixed income space, where investors can find something different from a long only exposure to the asset class, that is suspected to be at the end of a thirty years bull market.”

New York-based Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) has launched a UCITS version of its Global Core Select fund reported FTAdviser this week, to target retail and institutional investors in both the UK and Europe. The fund initially launched in the US in March. Both the US and Luxembourg versions of the fund are co-managed by Regina Lombardi and Tim Hartch. The fund holds a portfolio of 30-40 stocks with a market cap in excess of USD3billion, and uses an average holding period of three-to-five years. One of the fund’s criteria is that it must be invested in at least three different countries at any one time, with at least 40 per cent in non-US equities. The new fund will sit alongside BBH’s existing range of UCITS funds, which includes the BBH High Grade Fixed Income and the BBH Core Select funds.   
In other fund launch news, this week discretionary manager GLG Partners – part of Man Group plc – announced the launch of a new UCITS-compliant fund, the GLG Total Return Fund. The absolute return strategy will be managed by the Macro and Relative Value (MARV) team, headed up by Jamil Baz and Sudi Mariappa. Strategic calls will be made by an investment committee, chaired by Baz, while James Ind, who recently joined GLG from Russell Investments, will be responsible for on-going portfolio management.
Leveraging GLG’s dedicated expertise in fundamental, quantitative and market analysis, the UK-domiciled UCITS fund will invest across a diversified range of liquid asset classes, including equities, FX, sovereign bonds, currencies, credit, rates and commodities.
The fund will employ a value-driven investment approach – seeking to exploit absolute, relative and tactical opportunities at both the market and individual security level – within a flexible global strategy that blends top-down macroeconomic views with rigorous bottom-up security selection.
Operating within a strict risk framework, the team will seek to achieve Libor +5 per cent over rolling three-year periods, with typical volatility of approximately 7 per cent.
Richard Phillips, Head of UK Retail at Man, said: “The portfolio will be managed by a single investment team with the flexibility to invest wherever real value can be found and the freedom to seek risk-controlled profits from market dislocations. We believe this flexibility and the strength of the team behind the strategy will appeal to institutional and retail investors seeking a compelling alternative to the existing propositions in this space.”

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