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Julian Gibbs

There are four investment management groups which have two or more funds among the top 20 most consistent outperformers over the past three years.

At the top of the tree comes Jupiter, led by its undervalued assets trust run by Edward Bonham Carter, Merlin growth and Merlin worldwide portfolio.

Schroders has the most consistent fund of all, Japan alpha plus, as well as the UK mid 250 trust. Fidelity&#39s special situations managed by the amazing Anthony Bolton and European fund are both in the top 20. The other group with top 20 performers is Rathbone with its special situations and income & growth trusts.

I like all these funds but in current market conditions I think Schroder&#39s Japan alpha plus looks to be an outstanding investment.

There have been many false dawns in Japan but Schroders is positive about the outlook for Japanese equities, the main reasons for this being that major companies are reducing costs and restructuring their operations in order to boost their returns to shareholders.

Schroders focuses on good quality companies with strong market positions which are those most likely to perform well in the current environment. Some of these good quality stocks are attractively priced, with some of Japan&#39s best run companies available at valuations which are significantly lower than those of the overall stockmarket.

The fund is managed by Nathan Gibbs (unfortunately no relation). He has produced outstanding returns since the fund was launched in December 2000, outperforming the sector average by around 40 per cent.

His fund is up by 37 per cent this year and under his management should continue to outperform the market as a whole.


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