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Best of health

Eaton Vance is one of the biggest independent investment management businesses in the US. It has more than $110bn under management but is hardly known in the UK. But it has recently made a number of its funds available here.

Some of these funds have excellent records. The one I like best is its worldwide health sciences fund, which has shown outstanding returns over the last 10 years, averaging over 15 per cent a year to October 31, 2005. Over the last three years – quite a difficult period – it has shown returns of over 16 per cent a year and over 10 per cent over the past year. The fund’s objective is to achieve long-term capital growth with a low portfolio turnover by investing in a worldwide and diversified selection of health sciences companies. It currently invests around 60 per cent in biotechnology stocks and 40 per cent in pharmaceuticals. Around 65 per cent is invested in US shares, with around 20 per cent in Europe and 15 per cent in the Far East. Among its top 10 holdings are Amgen, Nov- artis, Genetech, Genzyme Corporation, Takeda Pharmaceutical and Medimmune.

The fund is run by OrbiMed Advisors, which manages more than $5bn of assets focused exclusively on the healthcare sector. The management team is headed by Samuel Isaly, who has been running the fund since inception. He is assisted by 21 investment professionals, many of them with scientific expertise.

They believe in a strong sell discipline, which 80 per cent of the time is triggered by a more attractive buy and 20 per cent of the time by surpassing the valuation targets or in some cases underperforming. I believe the management team is the best in the world in its sector and this fund should certainly form part of all bigger growth portfolios.

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