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Core Equity - Japan
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Fund Objective

The Fund aims to provide long-term capital growth of assets of the Fund by investing primarily in quoted or listed securities in any Recognised Stock Exchange or OTC market in Japan. The investment strategy is to invest the majority of the deposited property in mid to small market capitalisation companies. There is no target industry or sector for the investment of the Fund.

Our Comments
  • Focuses on mid- to small-capitalisation Japanese companies
  • Growth-oriented, highly diversified; the fund usually avoids 30 largest companies (by market capitalisation) at the point of investment
  • Suitable for investors seeking to exploit inefficiencies in the Japanese equity market via an actively-managed strategy; can complement existing large-cap Japanese equity exposure

For the Japan equity category, we have another recommended product that serves as a viable option for investors interested in the Japanese equity space: The LionGlobal Japan Growth Fund with its focus on the small to mid-capitalisation space of the Japanese equity market. Ranking highly for its five-year cumulative performance period, the fund posted an annualised return of 10.2% from end-March 2012 to end-March 2017.

The portfolio tends to be highly diversified, with its top 10 holdings accounting for approximately 23% of its assets as of end-March 2017. Stock selection is a function of a bottom-up process, and the manager does not rely too much on macro views to drive sector and stock allocation. Also, investors should note that the fund's tilt towards smaller companies within the Japanese equity universe is not a result of the fund's investment objective; rather, this is a function of the manager's opinion that there tends to be less undervaluation in the ultra-large capitalisation stocks, while the manager is better able to find stocks which have higher growth profiles within the small- to mid-capitalisation space.

With the lead fund manager having helmed the fund for 16 years (as of end-May 2017), the fund has a long-term track record in navigating this particular segment within the Japanese equity market. The fund would thus be suitable for investors seeking an actively-managed Japanese equity fund with a tilt towards the small- and mid-cap space; the fund would also be a good complement for existing large-cap Japanese equity exposure.

[Data as of 31 March 2017]

About the Fund Manager

Based in Singapore, Wee Ban Yew is the manager of the LionGlobal Japan Growth fund, and has been managing the fund since 1 July 2002. He is supported by two analysts and a research assistant. Ban Yew is the lead country specialist for Japan at LionGlobal Investors, and in addition to the LionGlobal Japan Growth fund, has also managed the LionGlobal Japan fund since 1 May 2000. Prior to joining the firm in 2000, he covered various Asian equity markets at DBS Asset Management where he spent 4 years. Ban Yew was also an auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick. He earned a Bachelor of Accountancy with 2nd Class (Upper Division) Honours from the Nanyang Technological University, is a Certified Public Accountant, and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

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