Banking on Accelerating Global Growth



Laurence Taylor
Portfolio Specialist
T. Rowe Price

David Eiswert
Portfolio Manager
T. Rowe Price

Arising tide lifted all boats in global markets last year, with some rising higher than the others. T. Rowe Price, winner of the Best-in-Class in the Top Fund Awards (Retail) for its Global Large- Cap Growth Equity strategy, has successfully ridden the synchronized global growth to create compelling value for investors. At the helm of the strategy are Portfolio Manager David Eiswert and Portfolio Specialist Laurence Taylor. The duo told us how the team unearths growth potential in an already elevated market, and where opportunities exist in2018 and beyond.

BENCHMARK (BM): Your flagship fund, T. Rowe Price Global Focused Growth Equity Fund, has consistently outperformed benchmark in the past few years. What contributed to the outperformance?
Laurence Taylor (LT): Yes, the solid track record is anchored in our focus on stocks with improving business fundamentals on the right side of change. In 2017, information technology was a key driver of our portfolio outperformance. We have high conviction in the technology sector, where rapid market share shifts mean growth companies are plentiful regardless of the broader macroeconomic environment. Healthcare was another significant contributor to relative returns, where we have focused on idiosyncratic, somewhat contrarian names, particularly in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
BM: Thank you for sharing your sector views. Geographical-wise, your bottom-up security selection has led to a bias toward U.S. equities. How would this change and where do you find growth in 2018?
David Eiswert (DE): You’re right that while we aim to ensure the portfolio is diversified through conscious stock, sector, and country allocation decisions, our approach is very much bottom-up, focusing on finding stocks characterized by growth and improvement. We continue to find many companies that fit this profile in the U.S.
Outside of the U.S., continued economic recovery in China last year gave a boost to Germany, France, and Italy, which benefited from stronger exports, but outside of China’s growth, there are not a lot of growth drivers in Europe. With the re-emergence of potential political risks in Germany resulting from Merkel’s difficulties in forming a coalition and uncertainty around Brexit negotiations remaining, we feel the region does not look as attractive from an investment standpoint as it did in the fall of 2016. In Japan, valuations are relatively attractive, but investors need to be selective in what they own.
BM: You just mentioned valuations. When many stocks are already trading at a premium, how do you approach stock selection? And can you tell us how you manage risk?
DE: In our view, most stocks seem relatively fairly valued, and we want to own durable companies that can grow earnings and are not too expensive. We remain constructive that there are enough drivers in place to maintain and potentially elevate equity market levels. Economic growth and inflation are likely to remain subdued, which, all else being equal, should be favorable for me as a “growth” manager. Ultimately, companies delivering stronger earnings growth will be crucial.
To your second question, risk management is integrated directly into our investment process. We are highly conscious of the potential for volatility in a focused portfolio, and close attention is paid to risk factors both at the security and the overall portfolio level. Added to that, we never forget the importance of both valuation and the relevance of a business in the future. That’s why the fundamental research from our global analyst platform is crucial for the early detection of events or trends that can affect the valuation or fundamentals of a company.
BM: After the strong rally in 2017, do you see any headwinds in the global large-cap space in 2018?
LT: 2017 was an exceptional year in many ways, and potential headwinds abound in 2018. In corporate profit terms, whether it’s European exporters facing euro strength or the secular growth winners facing blowout, year-on-year earnings comparisons, there likely will be some disappointment to potentially shake the confidence, assumptions, and time horizons of investors. Political risks are likely to also hover over markets as Brexit and the US midterm elections approach, with scope for the protest vote likely to re-emerge as time passes. Economic data are also likely to challenge those with less confidence in their positions as China’s stimulus program fades.
We may (and indeed have already in 2018) experience more volatility, but this should not be confused with the end of this bull market. One way or another, the unknowns of the cycle will mean that we will be offered opportunities to refresh the portfolio on weakness at some stage before this bull market eventually ends. BM




Laurence Taylor

David Eiswert

年環球市場升勢凌厲,大部分基金表現水漲船高,但部分公司的成績尤其彪炳, 包括普信(T. Rowe Price)。普信成功捕捉環球經濟同步增長趨勢,為投資者創造可觀回報,並勇奪本屆最佳表現基金(零售類別)環球大型市值增長股票組別之同級最佳。作為有關投資策略的掌舵人,基金經理David Eiswert及投資組合專家Laurence Taylor深入洞悉環球市場。二人與《指標》分享團隊如何在估值偏高的市場發掘增長機遇,並分析在2018年及更遠的將來,全球最具潛力的投資目的地在何方。

《指標》:過去數年,貴公司的旗艦基金 ─普信環球焦點增長股票基金持續跑贏基準指數。你們有何致勝之道?
Laurence Taylor(LT):我們穩健的投資往績源自對選股程序的重視。我們致力發掘業務基本面可持續改善、能夠在市場變化中受益的企業。在2017年,科技板塊是推動組合回報的最大動力之一。我們對科技板塊的前景充滿信心,科技企業的市場佔有率急速變化,反映無論宏觀環境如何,此板塊內都存有大量增長企業。醫療行業亦為組合回報作出重要貢獻,我們偏重擁有獨特優勢、較少受市場關注的股票,尤其是生物科技及藥品行業。
David Eiswert(DE):雖然我們銳意透過股票、行業及地區配置,確保組合符合分散投資目標,但團隊亦十分重視透過自下而上的投資方針,尋覓具有增長及改善空間的股票。我們繼續在美國辨識到不少富有潛力的企業。
在美國市場以外,去年中國經濟持續復甦推動德國、法國及意大利出口,為此三個市場提供強勁支持。然而,除了中國經濟增長外, 歐洲欠缺其他增長動力。鑑於德國總理默克爾在組閣上屢遇阻滯,令該國政治風險再度浮現,加上英國脫歐談判仍存在不確定性,從投資角度來看,歐洲的吸引力已無復2016年秋季。日本市場的估值相對吸引,但投資者須選擇性投資股票。