Fund Profile


Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by Ashoka India Equity. 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.

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Ashoka India Equity (AIE) is the top-performing India trust since it launched in July 2018 by some way (see Performance). The portfolio is managed by White Oak Capital Management using a process designed to extract the maximum value from stock-picking rather than top-down or macro-economic calls. All the trust’s considerable outperformance – a NAV total return of almost 100% compared to 56% for the benchmark since launch – has come from stock selection, with sector or market cap biases having no net positive effect.

The strategy implemented by White Oak was designed by its founder Prashant Khemka, former CIO and lead portfolio manager for Global Emerging Markets Equity at Goldman Sachs. The process uses a bespoke cash-flow analysis framework to identify great businesses at attractive valuations (see Portfolio). Alongside the investment process, a key feature is the thought that has gone into ensuring the alignment of interests of analysts and shareholders. The broad team – which has grown to 20 analysts all devoted to India – are compensated based on the contribution of their stock selections to the portfolio’s returns. In turn, AIE only pays the manager a fee if the trust outperforms the benchmark – there is no management fee excluding this performance fee (see Charges). This is designed to ensure the team remains incentivised to outperform even as the trust grows. The first three-year performance fee period ended in June 2021.

On average, AIE has traded essentially at par since launch. Excluding the six months immediately after the pandemic hit, the norm has been a small premium, which is 2.3% as of 21/10/2021. The board have been active in issuing shares to grow the trust, and this, plus performance, means net assets have grown to £162m.

Analyst's View

We think there are a number of reasons why a dedicated allocation to India could be appealing at this point in time. The government has implemented business-friendly reforms, which have seen India jump from 142 (out of 190 countries) in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking in 2014 to 63 in 2020. Reforms to the bankruptcy laws, the taxation system and an overhaul of labour laws have been implemented, while more of the Indian market has been opened to foreign investment. The pandemic has seen renewed determination from companies to diversify their supply chains away from China, and India has taken steps towards creating a manufacturing and technology ecosystem to capture market share in global trade. Meanwhile, GEM funds often offer little exposure to India – it makes up 12.2% of the MSCI EM Index.

AIE is a premium product. The striking success to date comes from stock selection as intended, with the process seeming to be validated by the early results. The consistency of the approach and the alignment of incentives between manager and shareholder should give cause for optimism that this pattern of outperformance can continue.

We strongly believe the performance-fee only structure is good for investors. It should ensure outperformance is the total focus of the team as the trust grows, removing the temptation to sit on past success and harvest fees. However, it can lead to high rewards for the manager and high OCF figures.

bull bear
The best track record amongst India specialist peers since inception
Currently too small for many large investors (but issuing shares regularly)
Large team of dedicated analysts can cover the whole market
As a single-country trust, highly exposed to the politics and economy of one state
Fee structure aligns managers’ interests with those of investors
Performance fee can be high when earned (although overall fees will be low if it is not)
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

16 Jun 2022 Focus on the long-term
AIE’s performance in 2022 shows why quality is important in the long-run…
10 Jun 2022 A balancing act
Two trusts that have made efforts to align their interests with shareholders have also produced good returns…
09 Jun 2022 Fund Analysis
AIE still best in its class, but now on a discount...
01 Jun 2022 Are emerging markets doomed?
Bunching together different parts of the world leads to an unnuanced view of the opportunities in emerging markets…
30 Mar 2022 You say tomato…
Do it yourself or put it into a global fund and leave it to the experts - our analyst debate the merits of each approach...
29 Mar 2022 Heads we win, tails we lose
Ashoka India Equity’s unique structure means it is strongly aligned with shareholder interests…
25 Mar 2022 Slides and Audio: Ashoka India Equity
Download the presentation and listen to the audio from our 'Ideas for your ISA' virtual Spring event on 16 March...
23 Mar 2022 Fifteen ideas for your ISA
Slides and audio from our event last week, featuring fund managers running money in every major market in the world...
04 Mar 2022 Results analysis: Ashoka India Equity
AIE has been the strongest trust in its peer group since launching in 2018…
10 Nov 2021 Fantastic growth funds (and where to find them)
We found them in India, Japan, frontier markets, healthcare and the global sector – and here they are…
10 Nov 2021 Slides and Audio: Ashoka India Equity
Download the presentation and listen to the audio from our 'Fantastic growth funds (and where to find them)' conference on 4 November...
27 Oct 2021 Fund Analysis
AIE has performed exceptionally well in its first three years…
13 Oct 2021 Beyond the Middle Kingdom
As momentum falters in the emerging markets powerhouse, we examine the options for investors outside China...
30 Sep 2021 Results analysis: Ashoka India Equity
AIE has reported another year of strong alpha generation…
31 Mar 2021 East End boys and West End girls
Our analysts debate whether the US or Asian stock markets will deliver the best returns over the next decade…
24 Mar 2021 Shoot to Thrill: ISA targets for long term growth
We all intend to invest for the long-term but can often be distracted by the news...
16 Mar 2021 Fund Analysis
AIE is far and away the top-performing India trust since it launched in July 2018…
08 Mar 2021 Results analysis: Ashoka India Equity
AIE has outperformed its benchmark over the last six months and is well positioned to continue delivering returns as the recovery in India gathers pace…
07 Oct 2020 Five ways to play Indian equities
India is struggling economically – but could there be a value opportunity in the stock market?
13 Aug 2020 Underground bangers
We look for hidden gems in the smaller end of the investment trust universe...
14 Jul 2020 Fund Analysis
AIE is the top-performing India specialist trust and is trading on a rare discount…
05 Jun 2020 Deep impact
Audio and presentations from our conference this week, where fifteen of the world's best fund managers described a profoundly altered investment landscape...
13 May 2020 Braving the new world
Join 15 of the UK's best known fund managers at the Kepler Trust Intelligence Virtual Summit to find out how they see the world after the pandemic...
05 Mar 2020 Don't panic: the case for investing in Asia this ISA season
We examine the relationship between stock market and GDP growth, before debating the case for an allocation to Asia...
29 Jan 2020 Fund Analysis
AIE offers a pure stock-picking portfolio of Indian equities with a unique fee structure…
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