The Best and Worst: Japan funds ring the changes: Japanese unit trusts

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The Independent Online
INVESTING with a Japanese-owned unit trust company is not necessarily a guarantee of success.

Sanwa International Investment Management, part of Japan's Sanwa banking and investment management group, launched a range of unit trusts, including two Japan funds, in 1991. Last year, after a management reorganisation, the two British managers responsible for the Japanese funds left.

Chris Wheeler, executive director at Sanwa International, admits: 'We took our eyes off the ball.'

Longer-term, Sanwa is confident about the Japanese market, although a little fearful that the general election will not produce a decisive result.

Provident Mutual's Japan trust is small, with scarcely pounds 3m under management, but the manager, Mark Thorogood, says this means most of the holdings are small and easy to sell quickly. Stocks that have done well for him include the telecommunications company Nippon Telephone and Telegraph.

Mr Thorogood believes the threatened break-up of the Liberal Democratic Party, which has been in power for nearly 40 years, heralds more fundamental changes in the political system and a shake- up in cherished policies from which many companies stand to benefit.

John Govett's Bear fund is a futures-linked fund designed to do well when the Japanese market is doing badly. Japan's TSE First Section index has increased by more than 65 per cent in the past year.

Aetna has reorganised the management of its Japan Growth fund. Dawn Buckley, the new manager, has been buying larger companies in the two months since she took over.

----------------------------------------------------------------- JAPANESE UNIT TRUSTS ----------------------------------------------------------------- The best pounds 1 Provident Mutual Japan Growth. . . . . . . . . . . . 175.68 2 Prudential Japanese. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174.52 3 Dunedin Japan Growth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .172.29 4 Gartmore Japan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .169.51 5 Dimensional Japanese Small Companies. . . . . . . . .168.14 The worst 83 Sanwa Japanese Equity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134.76 84 Scottish Widows Japanese. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131.96 85 GT Japan & General. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127.30 86 Aetna Japan Growth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122.61 87 Govett MIS Japan Bear. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106.93 ----------------------------------------------------------------- The chart shows the value of pounds 100 invested over one year to 1 June 1993, offer-to-bid, income reinvested. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Micropal -----------------------------------------------------------------

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