BlackRock Frontiers

BRFI’s portfolio is trading on a record low valuation, putting it in a potentially strong position for a COVID bounce…

Add to watchlist Request a meeting Download View key data

Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by BlackRock Frontiers. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

BlackRock Frontiers
2021 Kepler Income & Growth Rated Fund

This trust has been awarded a rating by Kepler for income & growth... Find out more

BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust (BRFI) invests in the smaller emerging markets and frontier markets, which the managers note are generally under-owned by most mainstream emerging markets funds but offer potentially exciting GDP growth rates and development pathways.

As a result of the pandemic, many of these countries stock markets trade on depressed valuations. As we discuss in the Performance section, the strong performance of BRFI’s portfolio in recent weeks indicates it may be highly sensitive to an economic recovery, potentially now in sight given positive results from various vaccine trials.

Managers Sam Vecht and Emily Fletcher believe their portfolio contains a number of exciting companies which can benefit from the secular growth trends of companies at early stages of development, typically from endogenous growth rather than imported global growth.

In a difficult period for global markets and BRFI in particular, a discount of 4.1% has opened up. We note that when the world economy was in better shape it was common for BRFI to trade on a premium. There will be an exit opportunity for investors in the next financial year too, with the details to be confirmed, which should reduce further downside risk to the discount.

BRFI does not target a specific dividend but, thanks to organic earnings growth from the portfolio, the shares are trading on a historical yield of 5.8%. As we discuss in the Dividend section, we think it likely the dividend will be rebased to lower levels in the coming weeks when the annual report and accounts are published and the final dividend declared.

Kepler View

BRFI could be about to embark upon an exciting period of growth. Valuations are very low, which we believe should reduce the downside risk in any temporary setbacks. Meanwhile the portfolio has leapt sharply on the positive, reflationary news of recent weeks. BRFI’s underlying markets have arguably suffered from a flight to safety and liquidity, and little technology and ecommerce representation in their stock markets. However, with GDP growth in its key markets expected by the IMF to be high next year (>7%) , the capital we would expect to see chasing cheap assets in a recovery will surely partly be allocated to these markets.

A weaker dollar environment, which is possible especially if a Biden administration manages to implement a large fiscal stimulus, should also benefit BRFI’s universe. We think the rise in the net exposure in recent months and elimination of the short book shows how positive the managers are on the current opportunity.

The discount that opened up this year has since partly closed. We find this unsurprising given the potential we have highlighted above and the tender offer which is likely to be made at the next AGM. This should offer an exit close to NAV in whole or in part, so further limits the downside risks at the share price level.

bull bear
BRFI offers excellent diversification through access to rarely held markets
A relapse in the pandemic could hit sentiment once more
The valuation of the portfolio has reached extreme lows
The OCF is not cheap, although the trust is the leader in its field
Most of the countries in BRFI’s universe have suffered a lower medical and economic toll from the pandemic than the rest of the world Managers can go long and short stocks with CFDs, which means effective gearing can be high at times
Thomas McMahon
Thomas is a senior investment trust analyst and joined Kepler in April 2018. Previously he was senior analyst at FE Invest, where he was responsible for fund selection for a range of model portfolios. He covered all asset classes over time, but has particular experience with emerging markets and fixed income as well as UK smaller companies funds. He has a degree in Philosophy from Warwick University and is a CFA charterholder.

Fund History

Disclaimer

This report has been issued by Kepler Partners LLP.  The analyst who has prepared this report is aware that Kepler Partners LLP has a relationship with the company covered in this report and/or a conflict of interest which may impair the objectivity of the research.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested when you decide to sell your investments. It is strongly recommended that if you are a private investor independent financial advice should be taken before making any investment or financial decision.

Kepler Partners is not authorised to make recommendations to retail clients. This report has been issued by Kepler Partners LLP, is based on factual information only, is solely for information purposes only and any views contained in it must not be construed as investment or tax advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or take any action in relation to any investment.

The information provided on this website is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation or which would subject Kepler Partners LLP to any registration requirement within such jurisdiction or country. In particular, this website is exclusively for non-US Persons. Persons who access this information are required to inform themselves and to comply with any such restrictions.

The information contained in this website is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is given by any person as to the accuracy or completeness of the information and no responsibility or liability is accepted for the accuracy or sufficiency of any of the information, for any errors, omissions or misstatements, negligent or otherwise. Any views and opinions, whilst given in good faith, are subject to change without notice.

This is not an official confirmation of terms and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell or take any action in relation to any investment mentioned herein. Any prices or quotations contained herein are indicative only.  

Kepler Partners LLP (including its partners, employees and representatives) or a connected person may have positions in or options on the securities detailed in this report, and may buy, sell or offer to purchase or sell such securities from time to time, but will at all times be subject to restrictions imposed by the firm’s internal rules. A copy of the firm’s Conflict of Interest policy is available on request.

PLEASE SEE ALSO OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Kepler Partners LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 480590), registered in England and Wales at 9/10 Savile Row, London W1S 3PF with registered number OC334771.



Welcome to Kepler Trust Intelligence

Kepler Trust Intelligence is authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Please enter a valid email address
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid email address
{{item.msg}}
Please check your email. If an account exists you'll be sent instructions on how to reset your password.
Kepler Trust Intelligence is authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. To ensure that we are able to provide content which is appropriate for you, please tell us a little about yourself.
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a company name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a location name
{{item.msg}}
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a platform
{{item.msg}}
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a trust
{{item.msg}}
?
The information contained herein is not for distribution and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy any securities in the United States to or for the benefit of any United States person (being residents of the United States or partnerships or corporations organised under the laws thereof). The investment funds referred to herein have not been registered in the United States under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and units or shares of such funds are not registered in the United States under the Securities Act of 1933.
Please confirm
{{item.msg}}
Please select an option
{{item.msg}}
See benefits
A free Kepler Trust Intelligence account allows you to access premium content including the ‘Kepler View’ – our verdict on the trusts we cover – and historical research so you can see how our view has changed over time. An account also unlocks useful facilities like the ‘follow’ button which lets you keep track of the trusts you’re interested in and as a logged in user you can also download PDFs of our research, and choose the layout of the page you’re reading to suit your preference. We will not share your details unless you give us permission to do so, and we won’t bombard you with emails – we only send one a week.
Please select an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter your first name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter your last name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid email address
An account already exists with this email - have you forgotten your password?
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
How will this information be used? Your answers help us to tailor our content to relevant investment trusts, and to ensure that the asset allocation and portfolio strategy research we produce is appropriate to our userbase.
Our Website uses Cookies Cookies are small text files held on your computer. They allow us to give you the best browsing experience possible and mean we can understand how you use our site. Some cookies have already been set. You can delete and block cookies, but parts of our site won’t work without them. By using our website you accept our use of cookies. For further information please refer to the Kepler Privacy Notice.
Need help?

One more thing...

Did you know, you can 'follow' individual trusts on Kepler Trust Intelligence? Use the functions below to set up alerts and we'll send you research and updates on your chosen trusts.

Suggested trusts to follow

Browse all funds
Need help?
Current Site Kepler Trust Intelligence is produced by the investment companies team at Kepler Partners and is the UK’s premier source of detailed qualitative research on investment trusts. Absolute Hedge is a market leading UCITS research database providing proprietary research on funds, themes and strategies in the UCITS space. Kepler Liquid Strategies is a Dublin domiciled UCITS fund platform featuring a number of best-of-breed fund managers. Kepler Partners is a corporate advisory and asset raising boutique specialising in the regulated funds market in Europe and investment trusts in the UK.