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Gartmore seeks opportunities in Europe

Gartmore has added two European bond funds to its Sicav, bringing the number of funds in the range 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.

The fund will be managed by Richard Hodges, who has been a senior investment manager with Gartmore&#39s fixed-income team for 13 years. He has been running the Gartmore capital strategy European bond fund since 1999.

Hodges will use a mixture of top-down and bottom-up methods to manage the new fund, drawing on the expertise of Gartmore&#39s in-house bond rating system, provided by credit analysts. He will try to identify unexpected credit quality and exploit mispricing. He will also sell bonds when they are deemed too risky for the portfolio.

The European bond market has suffered during the US-led downturn but has been given a lift by the anticipation of economic recovery. 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 new 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 & Poor&#39s, the Gartmore capital strategy European bond fund is ranked 53rd 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.

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