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First State Asia Focus Class B - Accumulation (GBP)

Sell:171.75p Buy:171.75p Change: 2.73p (1.57%)
Prices as at 27 March 2020
Sell:171.75p
Buy:171.75p
Change: 2.73p (1.57%)
You can buy or sell holdings in this fund through an ISA, Lifetime ISA, SIPP or Fund & Share Account
Prices as at 27 March 2020
Sell:171.75p
Buy:171.75p
Change: 2.73p (1.57%)
Prices as at 27 March 2020
You can buy or sell holdings in this fund through an ISA, Lifetime ISA, SIPP or Fund & Share Account
The selling price currently displayed is higher than the buying price. This can occur temporarily for a variety of reasons; shortly before the market opens, after the market closes or because of extraordinary price volatility during the trading day.

Our view on this Fund

This fund features on our Wealth 50 list of what we believe are the best funds in each sector.

First State has a long and successful history investing in the Asia Pacific region. In this fund, Martin Lau and his team invest in some of the most promising businesses based across Asia. They look for companies with strong cash flows, an ability to keep costs under control and high standards of company management.

We've long admired the team's disciplined investment approach and think it should do well in what can be a higher-risk area to invest. We hold Martin Lau in high regard and his long-term track record is nothing short of exceptional, though there's no guarantee this will continue. The fund is also small and nimble in size so the team can pounce on new opportunities quickly.

Our view on the sector

Asia is home to some of the most dynamic economies in the world and has the potential to grow strongly over the long term. Funds in this sector invest in more mature economies like Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore together with emerging economies such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Some also invest in other developed economies such as Australia. The region is home to some of the biggest economies in the world, like China and India, and a growing middle class means they're less reliant on exporting to the West. Domestic consumption and the growing use of technology could help drive the next phase of their growth. We think Asia is home to plenty of good investment opportunities but it's a higher-risk area to invest so a long-term approach is needed.

Performance Analysis

Martin Lau and his team have built an impressive track record investing in the shares of Asian companies. Our research shows they've done well by focusing on the prospects of individual companies, rather than taking a view of the wider economic environment.

The team are conservative in the way they manage money. They invest in companies they think will see consistent demand for their products or services and prosper over the long term, rather than chasing short-term fads. We expect the fund to hold up relatively well when markets are rocky, but it might lag behind when they rise strongly.

The chart to the right initially shows Martin Lau's track record managing the First State Asian Equity Plus Fund. It subsequently shows the performance of the First State Asia Focus Fund since launch.

Investment Philosophy

The team's investment philosophy is founded on stewardship. When they make an investment, they see themselves as part-owners of the business. So they engage with companies to make sure they are run in a way that'll benefit all shareholders, and also consider environmental, labour and other governance issues.

Process and Portfolio Construction

The team looks for high-quality companies. The main source of investment ideas is from visiting different countries and companies. The team are based in Asia, so they can visit companies and hear about their plans first-hand. It also gives them an insight into how markets are changing and makes it easier to find companies that could benefit.

The team want to find companies with a competitive advantage, like a well-known brand or large share of their market. They should also be financially strong.

The team aim to hold on to their investments for many years. Their approach is quite conservative and they aim to limit losses in a falling market, but this isn't guaranteed. The fund mainly invests in larger Asian companies, as well as some medium-sized companies with greater growth potential.

question mark Manager Track Record Based on HL Quantitative Research

  • First State Asia Focus B GBP Acc
  • First State Asian Equity Plus I...
  • FTSE AW Asia Pacific ex Japan TR...
FROM: TO:


Fund Track Record

27/03/15 to 27/03/16 27/03/16 to 27/03/17 27/03/17 to 27/03/18 27/03/18 to 27/03/19 27/03/19 to 27/03/20
Annual return n/a 29.01% 13.40% 4.50% -3.86%

Please remember past performance is not a guide to future returns. Where no data is shown, figures are not available. This information is provided to help you choose your own investments, remember they can fall as well as rise in value so you may not get back the original amount invested.

Information about the fund

Fund manager biography

manager photo
Manager Name: Martin Lau
Manager start date: 24 August 2015
Manager located in: Hong Kong

Martin Lau was appointed Director, Greater China Equities in October 2003 following the merger of the Edinburgh-based Asia Pacific team with the Hong Kong and Singapore Asian teams in September 2003. Martin joined First State Investments in April 2002 as Senior Portfolio Manager, responsible for the management of First State's Greater China and regional funds. Martin started his investment career in 1995 with BZW in London as part of their risk management team. He subsequently spent six years with Invesco as a fund manager responsible for the Greater China funds, Smaller Companies fund and regional portfolios. Martin graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters degree in Engineering. He is also a CFA charterholder.

Data policy - All information should be used for indicative purposes only. You should independently check data before making any investment decision. HL cannot guarantee that the data is accurate or complete, and accepts no responsibility for how it may be used. Benchmark data provided subject to this disclaimer.
You can buy or sell holdings in this fund through an ISA, Lifetime ISA, SIPP or Fund & Share Account