Top-Performing South African Fund Shunned Miners, Held Steinhoff

  • Avoided `large landmines' in local market, manager Ashton says
  • Brait, Capitec Bank, PSG among other top-stock picks

Anchor Capital’s BCI Equity Fund avoided commodity shares and invested in the industrial and financial sectors to became the best-performing fund in South Africa over the past three years, according to data compiled by Morningstar.

The fund, established in April 2013 and managed by Sean Ashton, invests in equities, primarily Johannesburg-traded shares, with the ability to hold offshore stocks to a maximum of 25 percent of the fund value.

“A lot of the returns have come about as a result of avoiding the large landmines that have occurred in our market over the last three years,” Ashton said in an interview posted on the company’s website. “We’ve had a deeply underweight position to the resources sector and that paid off particularly heavily in 2015, where the sector as a whole was down 30 percent and we’ve had no exposure. Coupled with this, we’ve had some very successful stock picks in the industrial and financial space.”

Ashton’s top stock selections include furniture chain Steinhoff International Holdings NV, which the fund has held since inception when the shares cost about 23 rand ($1.56), compared with current levels of about 95 rand per share. Investment companies Brait SE and PSG Group Ltd., along with unsecured loan provider Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd., “have been particular winners when one looks back over the last 12 months,” Ashton said.

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