Winners of Morningstar Fund Manager of the Year

BlackRock’s Michael Krautzberger (EUR Bonds) and Alken’s Nicolas Walewski (European Equity) Wins the Morningstar European Fund Manager of the Year Award.

Morningstar Europe Editor 31.03.2014 | 11.21
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BlackRock’s Michael Krautzberger Wins the Morningstar European Fund Manager of the Year Award

His experience, consistent track record, and the team backing him, combined with Morningstar’s very high conviction in his ability to deliver incremental performance going forward within a risk-aware framework, make Michael Krautzberger of BlackRock Euro Bond Morningstar’s European Fund Manager of the Year for European Fixed Income.

Krautzberger was named European Fund Manager of Year for European Fixed Income at a special ceremony Thursday evening as part of the Morningstar Investment Conference Europe in Amsterdam.  Other nominees were Richard Klijnstra of Kempen (Lux) Euro Credit Fund and Mikael Lundström who manages Evli Corporate Bond and Evli European High Yield.

BlackRock Euro Bond is one of Morningstar’s favourite funds in the sector and Michael Krautzberger is key to our favourable view”, says Morningstar analyst Karine Nowak who covers BlackRock Euro Bond. “His experience is particularly relevant for this fund as he has run global bond funds before and is used to working as part of a large fixed-income team.”

BlackRock Euro Bond is awarded the highest Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold, which means that the fund is best-of-breed and distinguishes itself across the five pillars of the Morningstar Analyst Rating (People, Parent, Process, Performance and Price) and has garnered the analysts’ highest conviction.

Alken’s Nicolas Walewski Wins the Morningstar European Fund Manager of the Year Award

Nicolas Walewski is a contrarian investor who does not invest according to momentum trends and does not follow the crowd for his fund Alken European Opportunities. He is an opportunistic investor with an outstanding record of outperformance who is not afraid to close his fund to protects his investors. These qualities make him Morningstar’s European Fund Manager of the Year for European Equity.

“A fine example of stewardship”, says Morningstar analyst Thomas Lancereau about Nicolas Walewski. “This is evidenced by his decision to close Alken European Opportunities to new subscriptions in order to protect the returns of existing investors. This means he is refusing money and additional fees in the interests of current investors. He closed the fund in 2007 and again in 2013.”
This is one of the reasons Walewski was named European Fund Manager of Year for European Equity at a special ceremony Thursday evening as part of the Morningstar Investment Conference Europe in Amsterdam.  Other nominees included Tim Stevenson (Henderson Horizon Pan European Equity and Henderson Euro Trust) and Isabel Levy (Métropole Sélection).

Nicolas Walewski has accumulated 20 years of investment experience. He began his career in 1993 at Crédit Lyonnais. From 1999 to 200 he worked as manager at Bank Syz where he produced excellent results as head of the Oyster European Opportunities Fund. Walewski founded Alken Asset Management in December 2005 and has surrounded himself with a strong team in terms of experience and qualifications. Over five years to the end February 2014 Alken European Opportunities has widely outperformed its competitors. Lancereau: “We also appreciate that Walewski, like most members of the team, invests himself in his fund. This is a good way to show engagement with investors.”

Walewski’s investment style is largely opportunistic. “He is interested in businesses where all or certain assets are undervalued by the market, forgotten stocks, or companies with sources of profit growth that have not been discovered. Whatever the investment thesis may be, the manager prefers businesses where he believes the management is credible and capable of realizing the company’s high profitability potential”, explains Lancereau. “The fund follows an opportunistic style that allows him to invest in his strongest convictions without being constrained by an index, style bias or market capitalization. Alken European Opportunities is a good option for investors with a taste for risk.”

Walewski tries to avoid market excesses and may indeed appear to be contrarian in his investment choices. He did not play the commodity and emerging-markets supercycle, for instance. “Walewski’s strength of conviction is impressive”, says Lancereau. “The fact that he did not invest in emerging markets- and commodities-related European stocks highlights his style of investing. He is not a momentum investor and is not following the crowd.”

About the Morningstar European Fund Manager of the Year Awards
The winners of the prestigious, qualitative Morningstar Fund Manager of the Year Awards are nominated and selected by Morningstar’s 30+ strong team of qualitative fund analysts across Europe. Only managers whom our analysts rate highly - meaning we have recognised the funds they run as Morningstar Medallists with a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Morningstar Analyst Rating - are eligible for nomination. To be a Morningstar Medallist, funds are put through a rigorous evaluation using our five-pillars methodology. The analysts weigh the quality of management, the strength of the process used to run the fund, the quality of the parent organisation - including how it treats investors in its funds - performance, and costs.

Nominated managers should have had strong performance in 2013, but, most importantly, they should have also shown an ability to serve investors well over the long term.
Only three of these awards are given for all of Europe each year: European Equity Fund Manager of the Year, European Global Equity Fund Manager of the Year and European Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year.

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