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Julian Gibbs

Most fund management groups launch funds when the market is too high. For example, in the specialist sector, 222 funds have been launched since January 1999, mainly technology funds. But this year only three funds have been launched.

The latest offering is from Theadneedle, which has introduced its first equity fund in three years, the global healthcare fund, at what I believe is the right time. It was launched on July 15 and is already showing a profit well ahead of its benchmark.

I believe this sector should be a real winner because the demand for medical services will continue to be driven by the needs of an ageing population and by voters&#39 desire for better treatment, whether it is funded by Government expenditure or by medical insurance.

Furthermore, medical needs remain substantial in both the developed and the developing world, which I believe will continue to drive demand.

Threadneedle believes in the team approach and this has certainly worked in that 77 per cent of its funds have performed above average, with no fund in the fourth quartile over three, four or five years. As a result, it has the highest rating from Morning Star of any European-based fund management group.

Its healthcare team, headed by Forsyth McGarrity, is highly experienced.

Along with the rest of world stockmarkets, shares in the healthcare sector have fallen and are mostly trading at a discount to the market. The world pharmaceutical market is growing at a rate of 10-15 per cent a year in most countries.

I believe that this sector will outperform most other sectors over the next three to five years and I have every confidence in the Threadneedle team outperforming the global healthcare sector as a whole.


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