High yield has emerged as a hot topic in recent months, with fund selectors displaying a preference for the bond type, while leading fund managers have warned of massive re-ratings on the cards and a potential swelling of the European market.
According to Citywire Global analysis, there are 80 euro-denominated high yield managers who have a 12 month track record in the year to end of May 2012.
The average manager over this period of analysis lost 1.55%, while the most commonly used benchmark, the BofA Merrill Lynch Euro High Yield TR, rose 0.4% in euro terms.
Out of this field of 80 names, 13 fund managers ended the 12 months in positive territory, with one managing to neither lose nor gain investors their money.
Concentrating on the top performers, two managed to return more than 4%, while a further five managers breached the 3% return mark. So who is leading the way in Euro high yield?
Fund manager: David Jourdan
Fund: Ecofi High Yield
Total returns (May 2011-May 2012): 4.07%
Topping the list is Ecofi Investissements’ David Jourdan, who has run the Ecofi High Yield fund since its launch in March 2011. The fund is targeted primarily at outperforming over a three-year time horizon.
The fund allocation is centred on private, non-financial issuers with at least 60% of the fund being invested in bonds or debt securities of companies listed within the EU.
The €10.7 million fund is one of four bond fund currently run by Jourdan, which also include two European bond funds and one European corporate bond fund.
Fund manager: Dietmar Zantke
Total returns (May 2011-May 2012): 4.01%
Snapping at Jourdan’s heels for supremacy in the euro high yield space is Dietmar Zantke of Zantke & Cie Asset Management. Like Jourdan, Zantke has a relatively short tenure on his European high yield bond fund, having launched it in March 2010.
His main focus is industrial names (27.6%), followed by communications (20.8%), while showing a strong aversion to financials, which make up just 5.5% of his portfolio allocation.
Zantke’s main hunting ground is Germany (25%) followed by France (12.4%). He has taken a rather large underweight with regards to Italy – 4.6% compared to 14.3% in the benchmark allocation.
Fund manager: Thomas Korhammer
Total returns (May 2011-May 2012): 3.80%
Rounding out our top three is Thomas Korhammer, who has been running his fund since March of 2011. This is his second stint as lead manager on the €240 million Raiffeisen-Europa-High Yield bond fund. It was previously run by Korhammer in April 2009 until Andreas Riegler took over between July 2010 and February 2011.
Korhammer is largely invested in BB-rated securities which make up 53% of his fund at present, with BBB-rated debt being his sector largest allocation with 11%. Despite the tumultuous time in Europe, Korhammer said the high yield bond market has remained robust.
In terms of individual holdings, Korhammer’s top two positions are to French industrial firm Lafarge (2.9%) and, looking beyond his European remit, an allocation to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (1.8%).
Here is the full list of those the money-making euro high yield managers.
|David Jourdan||1/48||4.07||Ecofi High Yield|
|Dietmar Zantke||2/48||4.01||Zantke Euro High Yield AMI I(a)|
|Peter Ehret||4/48||3.64||Invesco Extra Income Bond T|
|Per Wehrmann||7/48||3.33||DWS Euro-Corp High Yield|
|Christian Bitterwolf||8/48||2.35||BFC Masterfund High Yield Low Volatility (EUR)|
|Francis Jaisson||9/48||2.18||MMA Multigestion Haut Rendement|
|Barrie Whitman||10/48||1.69||Threadneedle European High Yld Bd Inst Gr Acc EUR|
|Piero Del Monte||11/48||0.78||Templeton Euro High Yield I (acc) EUR|
|Patricia O'Connor||11/48||0.78||Templeton Euro High Yield I (acc) EUR|
|Benoit Soler||13/48||0.55||Edmond de Rothschild Signatures Euro High Yield C|
|Johan Bigot||14/48||0.00||Hugau High Yield Recovery|