Artemis readies European share fund

London’s Artemis Investment Management is to launch a concentrated European equities fund for managers Mark Page and Laurent Millet, and reinvigorate its European Sicav umbrella at the same time, by putting the Artemis European Opportunities fund in it.

The £10.9bn independent boutique manager currently has two sub-funds – focused on global and European growth – in the Sicav, but has not marketed these as prominently on the Continent.

The Artemis European Opportunities fund will be the third, and have a euro hedged share class “for clients that want to take the currency off”, according to director of communications Ross Leckie.

The mid-October launch will be the fourteenth unit trust for Artemis, and take a fairly concentrated approach to seeking capital growth – about 60 ‘best ideas’ stocks – from Europe ex-UK markets.

Its benchmark will be the FTSE European ex UK (TR) Index.

Stock selection will be the “key driver of performance, with both sectoral and geographic exposure playing a secondary role,” Artemis said.

Page and Millet joined Artemis last year from LV= Asset Management, to co-manage the fund being launched.

Page was head of European equities at LV=AM from 2001, whereas Millet, a Frenchman, was a European fund manager there from 2007, working in Page’s team. Page also worked as a fund manager at Schroders from 1990, becoming a director of Schroders Investment Management International and deputy head of a global equity team over time. Millet has also worked as an equity analyst and strategist for a number of European institutions.

The LVAM European fund they ran before moving made 42% over the five years to 31 December 2010, against 34.2% from its FTSE Europe ex UK TR GBP benchmark, and 30.1% from its sector.

As MSCI’s Europe ex-UK index has fallen by 19.1% in euro terms this year, and European leaders continue debating how best to rescue the eurozone from disintegration, Page said the case against European equities “is well rehearsed, yet the case for investing is also clear.

“With some of the most consistent creators of shareholder value trading at ‘value’ type multiples, there is a great deal of bad news already in the price. The average European company is trading at a significant discount to historic and relative values.

“European equities have underperformed cash and government bonds for the last 10 years and now offer very good value. Investors are worried, rightly, about the top-down issues and want safety at any cost. But in the process, they overlook the bottom-up opportunities.

“We see huge opportunities to differentiate between good and bad companies in Europe; and we hope to exploit these to the full for our investors.”

Mark Tyndall, Artemis’ senior partner, said: “Mark and Laurent have an enviable record of consistent outperformance, having outperformed the benchmark in each of the last seven calendar years – and very few fund managers have achieved that.

“We believe that even in these volatile and difficult times, the fund will reward patient long-term investors.”

Leckie added: “We are not calling the bottom of the market [by launching the fund] yet. We are a private business with no debt, and we have the right people in place to do this.”

Key responsibility for Artemis’s sales in Europe is held by James Martinelli, who travels regularly to the Continent from his London base.

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