Pheim Asset Management Sdn Bhd took home six awards at this year’s Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards. For the sixth consecutive year, Dana Makmur Pheim swept the award for Best Mixed Asset MYR Balanced (Islamic) in the 10-year category. The fund also took home the award for Best Mixed Asset MYR Balanced (Provident) in the 10-year category.
The Pheim Asia Ex-Japan fund grabbed the awards for Best Equity Asia-Pacific ex-Japan in the three-, five- and 10-year categories, whereas the Pheim Emerging Companies Balanced fund won the Best Mixed Asset MYR Balanced-Global in the 10-year category.
Dr Tan Chong Koay, founder and chief strategist of Pheim, says these achievements are mainly due to its investment philosophy of never being fully invested at all times.
“We believe in trimming our equity exposure near market peaks to preserve capital. This philosophy works well in the volatile Asian market in the long run. When the market continued to break new highs around January 2020, we raised cash and reduced equity exposure, as we thought the valuations were too high and risky,” he says.
When the Dow Jones Industrial Average collapsed in March last year, however, the performance of Pheim’s funds still took a hit and was at its historical low. It was a challenging period for Tan and his team, but they knew that it would be temporary.
Tan is thankful for the trust of its investors, as they did not redeem their capital when markets were depressed.
“We are doing our best to educate investors that crises can present opportunities. They can earn good returns by participating in the market when most shares are being offered at big discounts. Our experience and track record speak for themselves. We have been able to do well during many crises,” he says.
With cash in hand, the fund house picked up many stocks at attractive valuations from March to May, which led to the outperformance of Pheim’s funds last year.
“The decision by our investment team to buy glove company shares early [was the right move]. For instance, the shares of Supermax went up by more than 1,000% in less than three months, outperforming giant conglomerates such as Amazon.com, Microsoft, Apple and Tesla,” says Tan.
In anticipation of an economic recovery worldwide in 2021, the US markets have been breaking new highs. While this bodes well for investors, Tan believes there is a need to be cautious in view of heightened volatility inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resurfacing of the US-China trade and political tensions.
Tan and his team will leverage an active asset allocation strategy to manoeuvre market uncertainties. The fund will also combine value and growth investing strategies by investing in companies that have healthy growth rates and good management and are undervalued.
Pheim is positioning itself appropriately through sector rotation, Tan says. This will allow the fund house to identify and invest in companies that have temporarily been affected by the pandemic, and are thus expected to recover strongly.
Other key risks that investors should beware of include high government debt levels worldwide, the threat of rising inflation as well as heightened social inequality that can increase political risk, says Tan.