Judging by most fund manager's mission statements, making promises is easier than keeping them. With the motto "clients like making money, but they hate losing it more than they like making it", Ruffer LLP is different. Many of its funds are preserving clients' wealth, even in the downturn.
Among the best is the CF Ruffer European fund, the top-performing fund in the balanced-managed sector over the past three years. It's returned 82.42% over the three years to the end of June. In the 12 months to 16 July, it's returned 6.9% against a 12.7% drop for its balanced-managed peers.
Managed by Timothy Youngman, a graduate of Manchester Business School, the fund looks for companies that will perform, regardless of the underlying economic conditions. Youngman has heavy weightings in firms that can benefit from the oil sector, including Statoil and stainless pipe maker Schoeller Bleckmann.
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But given the risks posed to equities by developments in the US subprime sector, he began bailing out of stocks last year. Equity exposure is now down to 30% from 80%; cash makes up 63% of the portfolio. "The fund is heavily weighted in cash and that reflects my caution on equity markets and fixed interest in an inflationary environment," Youngman tells Investment Week. And although that is the most extreme weighting the fund has ever had to cash, "it does give me the leeway to take short-term opportunities as well", he adds.
Contact: 020-7963 8100
CF Ruffer European Fund top ten holdings
Name of holding, % of assets
Norway Govt 6% 2011, 4.80%
MS DJ Stoxx 200 Put, 1.70%
Cie Generale De Geophysique, 1.60%
Burckhardt Compression, 1.50%
Schoeller Bleckmann, 1.40%
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