Sarasin AgriSar is one of few funds focused on the agriculture space with a track record of more than three years. We advised buying it in February 2010, and it turned out to be our top fund tip for the year.
The fund has maintained its sterling performance this year, returning more than 10 per cent in the past year. Co-managed by experienced managers Henry Boucher and Mark Whitehead, it invests in the longer-term trends within the global agricultural super-cycle. The aim is to invest across the full agricultural spectrum "from field to fork" and across all asset classes, including equity, commodities and land. Stock selection is based on Sarasin's thematic equity process, which looks at themes such as corporate restructuring, pricing power and security of supply.
Meera Patel, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown says one of the advantages of this fund is its flexibility to invest across the entire agricultural spectrum. "At the production end, the fund has high exposure to equipment and fertiliser manufacturers, while also investing in sectors such as irrigation that are beneficiaries of government support."
"At the consumption end, the fund invests in food retailers, and even beyond that, looking at the consequences of changing diets and the health implications," she adds.
According to the fund's managers, while food price inflation has continued over recent months, concerns over the impact on consumer demand now seem to be priced in. They have now started to add to stocks towards the consumer end of the agriculture and food spectrum.
As with its peers, the fund has a relatively high total expense ratio (TER) of 1.83 per cent and charges a performance fee of 15 per cent of returns over those of the MSCI World equity index.
Source: Investors Chronicle Funds Data, *Morningstar
Performance figures as at 4 May 2011
Top 10 holdings (as at 31 March 2011)
|Agrium Inc (CAD)||2.6|
|Uralkali-Spon GDR-REG S||2.5|
|Yara International Asa||2.5|
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