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The top global bond managers of the past five years

Citywire Selector uncovers the managers and manager teams making the biggest moves since 2012.

Yield hunt’s head honchos

We are constantly told about the low and negative yielding environment, with bond managers being forced to become increasingly innovative. Pimco’s Andrew Balls told Citywire Selector last week that he had moved his $9 billion into more nuanced areas of the market to generate a better risk/reward for his fund and he is not alone in this pursuit.

But, who has proven adept at investing on a pragmatic and fundamentally sound front over the past five years? In this analysis, Citywire Selector zeroes in on the top five fund managers and manager teams working in the broad global bonds sector to see who has posted the strong five year numbers.

Note: Performance covers July 2012-July 2017 and is taken relative to the average manager out of the 276 with a track record which covers this timeframe.

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5. Dan Fuss, Loomis Sayles & Co.

Fund: Great-West Loomis Sayles Bond Fund;Investor

Five year total return: 30.97%

Veteran investor Dan Fuss can boast a much greater than five-year track record in bond investing but he is acknowledged here for his work on the US-domiciled Great-West Loomis Sayles Bond fund, which he has overseen since 1994. He is recognised here ahead of his co-managers Elaine M. Stokes, Matthew Eagan and Brian Kennedy, as the trio all joined Fuss less than five years ago.

The fund, which is run on mandate for Great-West Financial, has $760 million in assets and is largely focused on the US bond market. This is while, despite having 313 bond holdings according to the June fund data, currently holding 14.7% in cash. This is one of 17 funds which currently has Fuss assigned as a lead or co-manager, showing the sector stalwart’s wide remit.

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4. Martin Wilhelm, IfK

Fund: ACATIS IfK Value Renten UI – Anteilklasse A

Five year total return: 33.94%

Pipping veteran Fuss to fourth spot is German fund manager Martin Wilhelm, who also operates on a sub-adviser basis. Wilhelm works for North German investment firm IfK where he is founder and chief investment manager.

Wilhelm has overseen the Acatis IfK Value Renten fund on behalf of Frankfurt-based Acatis since it was launched in December 2008. This Germany-domiciled fund has a slight home bias, with 19.8% of assets allocated here with 14.5% in Luxembourg and 13.9% allocated to the Netherlands.

At a securities level, the fund has a strong tilt towards corporate debt, with Wilhelm allocating nearly 40% of investments to credit, which is compared with 16% in non-banking financials and 15.4% in government securities. Wilhelm showed exceptional outperformance at the start of this analysis period but has tracked closer to the average peer since mid-2014.

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3. Jim Leaviss, M&G Investments

Fund: M&G Offshore Global Macro Bond T-H PTG SHS

Five year total return: 43.94%

M&G Investments’ head of retail fixed interest, Jim Leaviss, has shown one of the strongest turnarounds in this analysis, having lagged the average manager at the start of the five-year assessment to have risen solidly and consistently in the following years.

In this approach, Leaviss has almost half of his investment focused on the US market, with treasury notes taking up eight of the top 10 positions, as at the end of June. The former Bank of England employee has been in the hot seat on the Guernsey-domiciled fund since October 2010.

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2. Sven Pfeil & Dominique Godula, Aramea

Fund: Aramea Rendite Plus A

Five year total return: 44.54%

Taking second are the Aramea duo of Sven Pfeil and Dominique Godula, who have co-managed the Germany-domiciled Aramea Rendite Plus fund since it was launched in December 2008. Pfeil is also a named manager on two European convertible bond funds at the group but Gondula only focuses on this strategy.

The pair have consistently outperformed over the five year period and opened up a huge gap over the average manager in mid-2014. The managers currently have almost 50% of the fund invested in bank bonds, while over 90% of the fund is in BBB-rated or non-investment grade debt at present. The €536 million fund also has 42% allocated to debt with a maturity of three-to-seven years.

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1. Urs Ramseier, Twelve Capital

Fund: JSS Insurance Bond Fund P USD-dis

Five year total return: 61.67%

Blazing a trail in global bonds over the past five years is Citywire A-rated Urs Ramseier, who tops the competitive field with a return above 60% and a full 55 percentage points beyond his average peer. He has managed the insurance company-focused debt fund since September 2011.

Ramseier, who runs the fund on mandate for Bank J. Safra Sarasin, invests in reinsurance, catastrophe bonds and private insurance-linked securities, which can relate to aviation, marine or terror events. The Zurich-based manager was named as one of the most improved in the sector in June analysis undertaken by Citywire.

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Related Fund Managers

Dan Fuss
Dan Fuss
51/401 in Bonds - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 6.42%
Jim Leaviss
Jim Leaviss
1/401 in Bonds - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 26.86%
Martin Wilhelm
Martin Wilhelm
107/401 in Bonds - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 2.34%
Sven Pfeil
Sven Pfeil
113/401 in Bonds - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 1.72%
Dominique Godula
Dominique Godula
114/401 in Bonds - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 1.72%
Urs Ramseier
Urs Ramseier
5/401 in Bonds - Global (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 13.58%
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