Gartmore has added two European bond funds to its Sicav, bringing the number of funds in the range up to eight.
One of the funds, the Gartmore Sicav European corporate bond fund, focuses purely on investment-grade European corporate bonds. It will be benchmarked against the Merrill Lynch EMU corporate bond index.
Richard Hodges, who has been a senior investment manager with Gartmores fixed income team for 13 years, will manage the fund. He has been running the euro Gartmore capital strategy European bond fund since 1999.
When managing the new fund, Hodges will use a mixture of top-down and bottom-up methods. He will draw on the expertise of Gartmores in-house bond rating system, provided by credit analysts. Hodges will try to identify unexpected credit quality and exploit mispricing. He will sell also sell bonds when they are deemed too risky for the portfolio.
The European bond market suffered during the US-led downturn, but it has been given a lift by the anticipation of economic recovery and the euro currency, In the current environment, it is possible to find good bonds that are undervalued because they are viewed in the same light as other bonds within the sector.
However, as the fund invests exclusively in lower-risk investment-grade European bonds, it will miss out on the yields available on high-yield bonds.
According to Standard & Poors, the Gartmore capital strategy European bond fund is ranked 53 out of 83 funds based on £1,000 invested on a bid-to-bid basis with net income reinvested over three years to July 8, 2002.