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Number Cruncher

Emerging markets equity funds: How the decade shakes out Add to ...

What are we looking for?

How emerging market equity funds have fared over a decade.

Investing in the markets of developing countries has been appealing because of the fast-growing economies of countries such as China, India, Brazil and Russia.

The screen

We examined the returns of emerging markets funds for the 10 years ended March 31. U.S. dollar, segregated and duplicate versions of the funds were excluded, as well as investments that are a part of a portfolio of funds.

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What did we find?

A gem in AGF Emerging Markets. And uncertainty as to whether this fund leader can continue its winning ways.

This emerging markets fund, which posted an annualized 11.1-per-cent return, has been run by Patricia Perez-Coutts of AGF Management Ltd. for the past decade.

The performance is remarkable given that the Toronto-based manager beat the MSCI Emerging Markets Free Index (in Canadian dollars). Her fund also outpaced the 6.8-per-cent annualized gain by Templeton Emerging Markets, an offering run by the high-profile, globetrotting Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments.

Still, investors in the AGF fund may be wondering what to do now that Ms. Perez-Coutts and four members of her team are jumping ship next month to run money for a newly created Canadian investment arm of Dallas-based Westwood Holdings Inc.

Stephen Way, leader of AGF’s global equity team and who will take over her fund, plays down his predecessor’s impending departure. “It’s always been a strong team environment, and the process we follow is disciplined and repeatable,” said Mr. Way, who also manages AGF Global Equity.

Like Ms. Perez-Coutts, he too uses a stock-screening process known as “economic value-added,” or EVA, to find companies that can generate profits above their cost of capital.



It is not clear yet as to whether Ms. Perez-Coutts will run a rival mutual fund in addition to emerging markets strategies for institutional investors.

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