Italy has increasingly taken centre stage on the debt crisis, as the amount of the country's debt held by foreign parties - around €800 billion - is more than that of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined.
Recently the government announced that they have pushed back the date for balancing their budget for a further two years helping drive up Italian bond yields and unnerving the market once more.
All the above notwithstanding, there are 303 managers with a rating this month in Italy based on their three year, risk adjusted performance on the funds they run which are registered for sale in Italy.
In total, an impressive 24 managers made their ratings debuts.
Wehrmann invests in non-investment grade high-yield corporate bonds and, at the end March 2012, his top holdings were in Unitymedia NRW/Hessen (2.9%) and Fiat Industrial Finance with a holding of 1.8%.His main countries invested in were the safer corporate bonds in Germany (17.7%), Great Britain (11.0%) and The Netherlands (10.2%).
Another manager to enter on his debut with a AAA rating, is BNP Paribas’ Daniel Hemmant. He has just become eligible for a rating and manages the BNP Paribas L1 Equity Europe Growth I C fund.
At the end of the first quarter, Hemmant’s main sector holdings were financials (16.66%) and health care (13.57%) with his top stock positions in the companies, Royal Dutch Shell and HSBC.Italian equities manager Luigi Dompè of Anima has also received his first ever AAA rating and manages the PRIMA Geo Italia Y fund.
His investment strategy adopts a value-oriented investment style and implements peer-group analysis to find undervalued stocks. Dompè has managed the fund since March 2009.
Another manager doing exceptionally well is Invesco’s Tadao Minaguchi who has gone up two notches in the ratings this month to gain a AAA rating.
The rating is based on his performance on the Invesco Japanese Equity Advantage C Acc JPY fund which he has managed since May 2006. In that time he has held the coveted AAA rating an impressive 13 times.
During the first quarter of this year the fund underperformed the Topix index but since then the fund has outperformed the index in March. His main sector weightings over the past few months have favored IT and Industrials.
BNP Paribas’ Eve Bouard is another who returns to form and enters with a AA rating. The last time she received a rating was back in October 2011, when she was A rated.
She manages the Parvest Equity Euro Small Cap I C fund and has posted returns of 62.20% (in EUR) over the past 3 years. In comparison the MSCI EMU Small Cap TR EUR index has returned 40.72% over the same time.
The fund group with the most rated fund managers is JP Morgan with 21 rated managers. In second place are Fidelity with 14 rated managers while just behind are asset firm T Rowe Price with 13 rated managers.
Overall, we have awarded 303 ratings to those managers who manage funds that are registered for sale in Italy, with 47 AAA, 75 AA and 181 A ratings issued in May.
We are now tracking 1,934 managers running 2,409 funds, of which 1,355 have the necessary performance history required to be eligible for a rating.