Fund Research

Schroder AsiaPacific Fund

19 April 2018 View latest version

Schroder AsiaPacific Fund plc has an excellent track record and is led by a highly experienced manager in the form of veteran fund manager Matthew Dobbs, who has more than 35 years’ experience in Asian equities.

Matthew tries to ensure that he doesn’t pay “over the odds” for his stocks, and this focus on valuation gives the trust a more conservative feel when compared to its more extreme growth peers. In his view, Asian investors tend to focus on higher growth stocks, which means lower growth stocks tend to be ‘chronically undervalued’.

The trust aims to deliver total returns in excess of the MSCI All Countries Asia ex Japan Index, and has done so with aplomb, delivering superior returns to the benchmark in eight of the last ten calendar years, in the process delivering a cumulative return of 261.6%, during which time the index has delivered 146.5%.

Aside from 2013 (in which he marginally underperformed), Matthew has delivered solid outperformance in a range of different market conditions.

Asian stock markets had another strong year during 2017. While Matthew does not believe that 2018 will be plain sailing with protectionism, rising interest rates in the US, and North Korea all kicking around as potential pitfalls, when we spoke to Matthew in March he told us that he had “never been more excited as a stockpicker”.

In contrast to several trusts in the sector, dividends are not a focus for this trust. The manager stresses that dividends are a by-product of the investment process. At the current price, the dividend yields 1.3%.

At the time of writing, the trust is trading at a 10.8% discount, marginally narrower than the one-year average of 11.08% and the three-year average of 11.35%. The board actively pursues a discount control policy, which aims to ensure that (in normal market conditions) the trust does not trade on a discount wider than 10% for any significant period.

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Fund History: Schroder AsiaPacific Fund

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