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ian heslop

What enables a fund to outperform in difficult markets as well as favourable ones? By Dr Ian Heslop, Old Mutual North American Equity Income Fund




Part of the answer is in adapting to the market environment -particularly the ability to tilt or flex investment styles when needed. This helps to avoid the pitfalls commonly associated with static or concentrated style exposure, which are typically embedded in some established investment processes.

In the case of the Old Mutual North American Equity Fund, we aren’t constrained by a single investment style – be it value, growth, quality or momentum. Following a forensic, unbiased and flexible approach to selecting stocks, our robust investment process can rely on multiple style exposures, based on their relevance to the current market environment.

‘Our objective in managing the fund is to build long-term capital growth’

North American equities have become characterised by the perennial challenge of value stocks (those trading at a discount to peers) and growth stocks (companies with the best prospect for business growth) vying for the attention of the market.

This has led to investors experiencing prolonged periods of underperformance while one style remains prevalent over another.

In recent years, for example, many growth-oriented managers have outperformed those with a preference for value stocks. The disruptive nature of the market rotating between value and growth may also result in more pronounced drawdowns suffered by holders of style-focused or concentrated funds.

Our objective in managing the fund is to build long-term capital growth. The portfolio’s construction is driven by structured analyses of companies, including stock-price valuation, balance-sheet quality, growth characteristics, capital efficiency, analyst sentiment and market trends.


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We believe that the North American equities universe is broad and sufficiently diverse to continuously offer opportunities for active stock selection, independent of the state of the market. The diverse nature of the stock selection used in our investment process has allowed us to navigate the impact of style rotations.

It has also enabled our fund to offer returns that are less correlated with peers that have a more static style exposure – specifically value- or growth-orientated funds.

Some investors choose to access the US equity market via an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or index tracker, based on the perception that it’s difficult for active managers to outperform the S&P 500, or for reasons of cost.

‘has proven, through consistent performance, capable of adapting to changes in the market’

While that view may resonate following nine years of a bull market, it may prove less compelling following a period of enhanced volatility. Most passive funds track market capitalisation-weighted stock indices such as the S&P 500 or the MSCI North America Index.

Over time, these indices may become skewed towards styles such as quality or value – characteristics which may conceivably escape the rudimentary risk analysis of many well-intentioned passive investors.


We believe that the prospects of outperforming in good times while providing downside protection in more challenging environments may be enhanced by using an investment process that’s sufficiently flexible and has proven, through consistent performance, capable of adapting to changes in the market. This helps to avoid the pitfalls of overly persistent biases, while enhancing the overall risk-adjusted return profile of investor portfolios.


Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. Investment involves risk. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. Because of this, an investor is not certain to make a profit on an investment and may lose money. Exchange rate changes may cause the value of overseas investments to rise or fall.


This communication provides information relating to the Old Mutual North American Equity Fund (the “Fund”), which is a sub-fund of Old Mutual Global Investors Series plc. Old Mutual Global Investors Series plc is an investment company with variable capital established as an umbrella fund with segregated liability between sub-funds which is authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland pursuant to the European Communities (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) Regulations 2011, as amended. Registered in Ireland under registration number 271517. Registered office: 33 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Old Mutual Global Investors uses all reasonable skill and care in compiling the information in this communication which is accurate only on the date of this communication. You should not rely upon the information in this communication in making investment decisions. Nothing in this communication constitutes advice or personal recommendation. An investor should read the Key Investor Information Document(s) (“KIID”) before investing in any sub-fund of Old Mutual Global Investors Series plc. The KIID and the prospectus can be obtained from in English and other required languages.
Certain paying and/or information agents have been appointed in connection with public distribution of the shares of Old Mutual Global Investors Series plc in certain jurisdictions. Shares are sold by prospectus only. The prospectus, KIID and/or other relevant offering documentation is available free of charge at:
Austria: Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG, Belvedere 1, 1010 Wien, Austria.
Belgium: CACEIS Belgium SA, B-1000 Brussels, Avenue du Port 86 C b320, Brussels.
Germany: Skandia Portfolio Management GmbH, Kaiserin-Augusta-Allee 108, 10553 Berlin, Germany.
France: BNP Paribas Securities Services, Les Grands Moulins de Pantin, 9 rue du Debarcadère 93500  Pantin,  France.
Hong Kong: Old Mutual Global Investors (Asia Pacific) Limited, Unit 2, 5/F Two Chinachem Central, 26 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong.
Italy: Allfunds Bank S.A., Estafeta, 6. (La Moraleja) Complejo Plaza de la Fuente – Edificio 3 – C.P. 28109 Alcobendas, Madrid; Societe Generale Securities  Services S.p.A, Via Benigno Crespi 19A – MAC2, Milan and BNP Paribas Securities Services, Piazza Lina Bo Bardi No.3, Milan.
Luxembourg: BNP Paribas Securities Services, Luxembourg Branch, 33 rue de Gasperich, L-5826, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Spain: Allfunds Bank, C/ La Estafeta 6, Edificio 3, 28109 Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain.
Sweden: Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (“SEB”), Kungsträdgårdsgatan 8, SE-106 40, Stockholm, Sweden
Switzerland: First Independent Fund Services Ltd. is the Swiss representative and BNP Paribas Securities Services, Paris, succursale de Zurich, is the Swiss paying agent.
Taiwan: Capital Gateway Securities Investment Consulting Enterprise, 9F/9F-1, No. 171, Songde Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan, R.O.C.
United Kingdom: Old Mutual Global Investors (UK) Limited, Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill, London, United Kingdom, EC4P 4WR. The Fund is recognised by the FCA.
Other: Old Mutual Global Investors Series plc, c/o Citibank Europe plc, 1 North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland.

The Fund may be more than 35% invested in Government and public securities. These can be issued by other countries and Governments. Your attention is drawn to the stated investment policy which is set out in the Fund’s prospectus.

In Denmark, this material is only intended for the exclusive use of Danish eligible counterparties or professional investors. Danish retail investors may not invest in the sub-funds mentioned in the material.
In Spain, Old Mutual Global Investors Series plc is registered with the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores in under number 301. Old Mutual Global Investors is registered under number 2479. The prospectus, KIID and the latest economic reports can be obtained at no cost from Allfunds Bank.
In the Republic of Finland, this communication is not intended to constitute a public offer or an advertisement of securities.
In Italy, this material is for the exclusive use of “professional clients or professional investors” (as defined in Legislative Decree no 58/1998 by reference to Annex 3 of CONSOB Regulation no. 20307 of 2018) and its dissemination to retail investors/clients is prohibited.
In Luxembourg, this information does not constitute, under any circumstances, an offer or an invitation to purchase or sell shares in Luxembourg and does not and is not intended to constitute an offer of shares in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It does not constitute legal, accounting, or tax advice.


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