European equity funds with conviction and strong performance could lead the way in reversing outflows in the sector caused by a combination of Brexit, stretched valuations, and weak earnings that has sent investors elsewhere, according to the latest issue of The Cerulli Edge - European Monthly Product Trends Edition.
Cerulli Associates, a global research and consulting firm, notes that active equity funds in Europe have fared considerably better than their counterparts in the United States. A study by S&P Global shows that 90% of active U.S. equity funds tracking the S&P 500 underperformed the index in the three, five, and 10 years to the end of June 2016. In contrast, 63.8% of active equity funds in Europe underperformed the S&P Europe 350 over three years.
"To put it in a more positive way, over 36% of active funds matched or beat the index. Whether it is the result of the more disparate nature of the European markets or other factors, Europe clearly has more active funds outperforming than the United States," says Barbara Wall, Europe managing director at Cerulli.
She points to companies such as Allianz Global Investors with its sizable funds that have outperformed over one, three, five, and 10 years. "The funds' clear sector stances, such as overweighting industrials, seem to have paid off. Some funds can achieve outperformance just by underweighting one major sector."
The performance of the finance sector over the past couple of years serves as an example, according to Wall. "Amundi's Europe Conservative fund has underweighted this sector, which makes up just 4.45% of the portfolio. In the three years to September 2016 the fund gained 29.5%, compared with 18.4% for the MSCI Europe, in which financials are 19.5%."