Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

A $5 Billion Fund Manager Says Fears of China Are Overblown

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  • Nordea’s Emerging Stars fund holds Samsung, Tencent, Alibaba
  • Fund has delivered annual return of 11% in past five years

When investors get nervous about the Chinese markets, it’s an opportunity for some to snap up stocks in the country’s emerging global powerhouses.

A lot of the worries about China and its financial system are “exaggerated”, according to Jorry Noeddekaer, the head of emerging markets at Nordea Asset Management in Copenhagen.

“Every two weeks or so somebody tells you that China is going to blow to pieces. It hasn’t happened so far,” Noeddekaer said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Volatility has increased in the Chinese stock markets in the past month and the CSI 300 Index has fallen more than 5 percent from a high in November, the biggest decline since 2016, after the Chinese government signaled it was concerned about some high-flying stocks.

“All this nervousness and all these very skeptical people out there, create a great opportunity for being a stockpicker,” said Noeddekaer, who oversees $5 billion. “You can buy very high quality companies cheaply.”

Noeddekaer buys companies in the service and consumption driven part of the economy while avoiding the commodity sector and the government-owned banks.

Nordea Emerging Stars fund has returned on average 11 percent a year in the past five years. That’s better than 93 percent of its peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its biggest holdings are Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Alibaba has “an exceptionally scalable business model” and the “monetization potential of customer engagement still have a lot of room to grow,” according to Noeddekaer.

“They’re slowly starting to make a global expansion,” he said. “With their business model, services and the IT capabilities, they will become a true global player ten years from now.”

The Emerging Stars fund is overweight India, where Noeddekaer is betting on the housing boom and growth in financial services by holding companies such as Housing Development Finance Corp.

“Being an emerging markets manager isn’t about the absolute level,” he said. “The journey is about how the economy and the companies in the economy improve. We’re chasing and hunting for these improvement cases. There’s a lot of improvement going on in India now.”

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