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Exceptions to the rule

Despite the recent stockmarket turmoil, there are still some very good buying opportunities in the financial sector. Two of the best managers in the industry, Guy de Blonay and Philip Gibbs (no relation), manage excellent funds – New Star global financials and Jupiter financial opportunities respectively.

They both have avoided the worst of the financial sector’s heavy falls over the past few months and both hold some cash ready to invest in exceptional opportunities.

Guy de Blonay has heavily invested in European institutions, with over 50 per cent invested in the Euro area. Shares he likes include Deutsche Bourse and Icap, both of which benefit from volatile markets, and Standard Chartered Bank. He believes banks exposed to Asia will continue to expand and increase profits and dividends.

Share valuations, due to negative market sentiment, mean that some banks are still trading at near 20-year lows. He expects financial shares to recover by the year end.

His top holdings also include Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Hellenic Bank, Zurich Financial and the Man Group.

Philip Gibbs of Jupiter has avoided the US for some time and consumer businesses there and in the UK. He believes the recent sell-off of financials has been indiscriminate and offers the chance to pick up companies on low valuations and that financial businesses with strong growth prospects are now highly attractive, particularly in Europe and Asia.

Among his bigger holdings are Deutsche Bourse, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Zurich Financial Services and Lloyds TSB as well as several other European banks. I recommend both these funds strongly at the present time and I believe they will be among the top performers over the next year or so.

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