POW :: ICICI Prudential Indo Asia Equity Fund – a review

Nikhil Walavalkar | May 05, 2015, 05.48 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com
Equity investors looking for a solution that invests in both- shares listed in Asia and India with three years time-frame, can consider this scheme as an investment


As Indian equities come under pressure and foreign institutional investors start logging out of India in search of value, the schemes investing overseas appear attractive. But not many individuals can time this move from Indian equities to foreign equities. Also lack of awareness about foreign markets is another challenge for many. Hence it makes sense to go with a scheme that offers to invest in Indian shares as well as shares listed overseas. If such a scheme comes with a good track record, it is a good investment pick. ICICI Prudential Indo Asia Equity Fund (IPIA) fits the bill and can be looked at as a core portfolio holding with a minimum three years view – longer the better.

The scheme
IPIA was launched in October 2007. As on March 31, it has an asset size of Rs 151 crore. The scheme is benchmarked against 65% CNX Nifty + 35% MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index. Sankaran Naren, Atul Patel and Shalya Shah are the fund managers of this scheme.

Asset allocation
The fund intends to invest 65% to 95% of the money in shares listed in India. Up to 35% money can be invested in Asia Equity Fund.

Portfolio composition
IPIA sticks to fund route when it comes to taking ‘Asia’ exposure. As of March 31, 25% money was invested in Eastspring Inv Asian Equity Fund. Remaining money is invested in Indian shares along with 2.7% exposure to short term debt and other current assets. Banking and finance, services and automobiles are the top three sectors with 26.18%, 10.24% and 9.08% respectively. These three sectors account for 45.5% of the scheme. There are 21 stocks in Indian stock portfolio. Hence the portfolio can be termed as concentrated portfolio if compared with other portfolios of the fund house and the industry average.

Investment strategy
Fund managers have built a portfolio that offers exposure to companies of varying sizes. Though this is a concentrated portfolio, sector diversification and focus on quality ensures that investors are not taking undue risks. The fund managers avoid taking exposure to companies that come with highly leveraged balance sheets. Fund managers believe in continuing their Asia exposure as long as they find it attractive.

Performance of the scheme
Over three and five year time period IPIA has given 26.6% and 17.7% returns respectively. The fund has beaten the category average for international funds and Nifty by a good margin. Do refer table for better understanding of the performance numbers.

ICICI Pru Indo Asia Fund

Source: Moneycontrol.com / All numbers are annualized.

Returns (%)
The scheme did well compared to peers.

ICICI Pru Indo Asia Fund

Source: Moneycontrol.com /All numbers are annualized.

Scheme has done well across time periods. IPIA also managed to contain downside in bad times like CY2011, when it lost 15.05% as compared to 24.62% loss in Nifty. The scheme is not solely dependent on Indian markets. This diversification has helped the fund post better risk-adjusted returns in the long term.

As this scheme invests in shares, it must be seen as a high risk investment. Exposure to mid-sized and small sized companies may cause some intermittent volatility due to concentrated bets the fund managers have taken. Sudden fall in stock markets across Asia can lead to loss of capital in this scheme. Also the scheme can underperform broader Indian equity markets in case of euphoric up-move in very short time period.

Should you invest?
For investors keen to take a three year view on Indian equities and looking for some amount of diversification beyond Indian equities, this can be a good investment vehicle. IPIA is treated like an equity fund for the tax purpose as it invests minimum 65% of money in Indian equities. If you hold on to the investments in this scheme for more than one year, capital gains earned on this scheme are tax exempt. It is better to invest through systematic investment plan to benefit from stock market volatility.

Source : http://goo.gl/pw3cfj

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