- Ben Whitmore is a specialist in finding unloved companies with recovery potential
- His team use the same disciplined approach across all the regions they invest in
- Performance since the fund’s launch has been held back by its value style being out of favour, but more recently this trend has started to reverse
- This fund features on our Wealth Shortlist of funds chosen by our analysts for their long-term performance potential
How it fits in a portfolio
Jupiter Global Value Equity aims for long-term growth by investing in undervalued companies with recovery potential. That makes it different from many other global funds that focus on companies with high-growth expectations, and we think the two styles could complement each other in a portfolio. The managers tend to favour large and medium-sized companies from developed markets. North American companies make up less of this fund than many other global funds, which means it could provide international diversification to an adventurous portfolio.
Ben Whitmore is an experienced investor with 27 years of industry experience. He joined Jupiter in 2006, having previously worked at Schroders managing UK companies funds. At Jupiter, he’s also managed the Jupiter UK Special Situations Fund since 2006 and the Jupiter Income Trust since 2013. Whitmore is also Jupiter’s Head of Strategy for value equities. Given the overlap in process and approach, we think he’s able to devote enough time to each.
Dermot Murphy is co-manager of the fund alongside Whitmore. He joined Jupiter in 2014 and is part of the Value Equities Team. He has worked in the industry for almost a decade and previously worked at Fidelity as a building materials analyst. Although we don’t doubt Murphy’s skills, our main conviction lies in Whitmore. The managers also benefit from the support of two dedicated equity analysts.
We admire the managers’ disciplined approach and commitment to their style, even when it’s faced strong headwinds. It can take courage and perseverance to invest the way they do, and we think they have both in abundance. Combined with Whitmore’s strong, long-term track record, that’s why the fund is on the Wealth Shortlist.
Whitmore and Murphy’s investment philosophy stems from the idea that the highest returns come from buying shares with the lowest valuations. That’s why the managers hunt for companies whose share price, in their opinion, doesn’t reflect their true worth and so can be bought at an attractive price. The reason why they are undervalued varies from company to company, but it can often be the result of poor management decisions, financial or wider industry pressures. It’s important to remember that this approach can take time to come to fruition though, so it requires patience.
Many of these shares are cheap for a reason and face a gloomy future, often referred to as ‘value traps’. The managers aim to avoid these and only buy quality companies which they believe have the potential to recover. To value a company, they look closely at the strength of the business, its financial health and its long-term average share price and compare that to the current share price.
This research results in a portfolio of around 35-45 holdings, which is a relatively concentrated approach. This means each investment can contribute significantly to overall returns but it can increase risk. Currently the managers invest in just over 40. Over half the fund invests in larger companies with the remainder spread across medium-sized and higher-risk smaller companies. The majority are from developed regions like Europe and Japan, but the managers also invest in higher-risk emerging markets.
The managers style means they tend to invest quite differently to the broader global stock market. For example, they have little exposure to ‘growth’ sectors such as technology and healthcare. In contrast, they invest a lot more in companies whose fate lies in the hands of the consumer, such as Harley Davidson and Ralph Lauren.
Over the past 12 months the managers have invested in several new companies, one example being Nokia, a global leader in networking equipment. The business suffered in recent years following its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016, losing its market leadership within 5G and pushing the share price to a depressed level. With a robust balance sheet and new management team looking to make up lost ground, Whitmore is optimistic about the company’s future. Other new entrants include fashion brand Hugo Boss, tyre manufacturer Continental and pharmaceutical company GSK.
In contrast, several holdings were sold where the team’s valuation target had been met or they had found better opportunities elsewhere. These included travel company Booking Holdings, mining company Anglo American, and Pearson, the publisher.
Jupiter is a well-known asset manager and part of the FTSE 250. Fund managers are given autonomy to invest the way they see fit, but with an appropriate level of challenge from others in the business. The business setup allows Whitmore and Murphy to focus purely on fund management and take a long-term view, which is important as their value style of investing often requires patience.
Jupiter is also placing increasing importance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and has a governance & sustainability team that helps fund managers engage with companies and vote on ESG matters.
Earlier this year Jupiter announced it would be making over 15% of its staff redundant. This decision was made in order to make the business more ‘agile’ and improve its growth prospects. Whilst unfortunate, Whitmore and his team are unaffected, and we believe they continue to work in a constructive environment.
The fund usually has an annual ongoing charge of 0.93%, but we’ve negotiated a 0.40% saving so it’s available to HL clients for 0.53%. We think this is a great price to access Whitmore’s best global ideas. The HL platform fee of up to 0.45% per year also applies.
Performance has been mixed since the fund launched in March 2018. Over this period the fund returned 23.0%* vs 53.6% for the IA Global sector average. This is a relatively short period of time over which to judge performance though, and remember past performance isn’t a guide to future returns.
The managers ‘value’ style was out of favour for some time and the main reason for underperformance. More recently this trend has started to reverse following the successful vaccine news in November 2020. This, combined with good stock picking, delivered returns of 32.3% vs 26.0% for the sector average over the past 12 months.
Consumer discretionary holdings like Danish jeweller Pandora and fashion brand Hugo Boss were some of strongest performers. Stock selection within financials also helped returns. Examples include Aviva and AIB, the Irish bank whose share price rose following NatWest Group’s announcement that it would be closing Ulster Bank, one of AIB’s largest competitors.
Not all their holdings did well though. Interdealer Broker TP ICAP was one of the weakest performers but the managers maintain conviction. Barrick Gold, a company whose fortune is closely tied with the Gold price, and food wholesaler Kato Sangyo also detracted from returns.
|Annual percentage growth|
| June 16 -
| June 17 -
| June 18 -
| June 19 -
| June 20 -
|Jupiter Global Value Equity||N/A||N/A||-6.8%||-8.5%||32.3%|
Past performance is not a guide to the future. Source: *Lipper IM to 30/06/2021.
N/A = performance data for this time period is not available.
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