Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus PLC

A fundamental, high conviction portfolio of well-researched Asian small caps.

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Latest news

An update from our investment manager, Hugh Young - 14 September 2020

After the sharp rebound in stock markets from the trough in March, the net asset value of the Trust is down only marginally for the calendar year to the end of August 2020. There have been marked differences in performance across sectors, with technology a clear beneficiary of the Covid-19 pandemic. Amid lockdowns and social distancing, more people are working from home and staying indoors. This means more demand for online payment systems, e-commerce and work-from-home digital services and solutions. In contrast, the consumer sector has felt the impact of Covid-19 related measures, with hotels, retailers, auto makers and other discretionary segments bearing the brunt. Banks have also suffered disproportionately.

We remain cautious about the near-term outlook for global markets, given the apparent disconnect between equity prices and economic and corporate fundamentals. With the pace of recovery still uncertain, the sharp rally in equities feels ‘too much, too soon’. The economic outlook remains uncertain, and there is still a risk of new Covid-19 waves despite encouraging signs of a global vaccine. The geopolitical backdrop is also a worry. Tensions between the US and China have continued to escalate in the lead-up to the US presidential election in November. Meanwhile, second-quarter corporate earnings have been mixed, although the declines are less pronounced than in the prior three months. We do expect better data to come through in the second half of the year as economies continue to re-open and recover, while accommodative central banks also provide some support for stocks.

In spite of all this, Asia remains well-positioned as the powerhouse of global growth. Smaller companies in the region have also not featured as prominently as recipients of investment flows, meaning valuations remain relatively attractive. Our focus continues to be on good quality companies that are able to weather the current storm. We believe the portfolio’s defensive characteristics, with companies exhibiting balance sheet strength, visible revenue streams and healthy profit margins, will be invaluable. We also favour market-leading businesses that are hitched to structural growth drivers in Asia. This encompasses trends that have boomed during the pandemic, such as e-commerce and greater adoption of technology, alongside longer-term shifts, including rising demand for healthcare and infrastructure. Our aim will be to take advantage of market gyrations, putting capital to work in our highest-conviction ideas while exiting those with declining prospects.

About us

A fundamental, high conviction portfolio of well-researched Asian small caps.

Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus is an Investment Company listed on the London Stock Exchange aiming to find the best managed Asian smaller companies that are setting the new standard.

The Company strives to maximise total return to shareholders over the long term from a concentrated, high-conviction portfolio focusing predominantly on exciting, smaller, listed companies in Asia and Australasia (excluding Japan).

Managers Hugh Young and Gabriel Sacks are both based in the region and are supported by a team of over fifty investment managers.

The portfolio is finely tuned to give shareholders the potential to benefit from Asia's expanding middle class. Stocks are highly diversified by market and sector with a strong focus on manufacturing and consumer products.


Learn more about the portfolio

Key people

Hugh Young

Hugh Young

Managing Director - Asia

Hugh Young is the Managing Director - Asia of Aberdeen Standard Investments. He was formerly a main board director and Head of Investments for Aberdeen Asset Management (before its merger with Standard Life plc). Hugh joined Aberdeen in 1985 to manage Asian equities from London, having started his investment career in 1980. He founded Singapore-based Aberdeen Asia in 1992 and since then he has built the company into one of the largest and most well-respected managers of such assets globally. Hugh is a director of a number of group subsidiary companies and group-managed investment trusts and funds. Hugh graduated with a BA (Hons) in Politics from Exeter University.

Gabriel Sacks

Gabriel Sacks

Investment Director

Chartered Financial Analyst, MA in Land Economy from Cambridge University. Joined ASI in 2008 as part of the London-based Global Emerging Markets Equities team and transferred to Asian Equities in 2018.

  • Hugh Young

    Managing Director - Asia

    Hugh Young is the Managing Director - Asia of Aberdeen Standard Investments. He was formerly a main board director and Head of Investments for Aberdeen Asset Management (before its merger with Standard Life plc). Hugh joined Aberdeen in 1985 to manage Asian equities from London, having started his investment career in 1980. He founded Singapore-based Aberdeen Asia in 1992 and since then he has built the company into one of the largest and most well-respected managers of such assets globally. Hugh is a director of a number of group subsidiary companies and group-managed investment trusts and funds. Hugh graduated with a BA (Hons) in Politics from Exeter University.

  • Gabriel Sacks

    Investment Director

    Chartered Financial Analyst, MA in Land Economy from Cambridge University. Joined ASI in 2008 as part of the London-based Global Emerging Markets Equities team and transferred to Asian Equities in 2018.

Nigel Cayzer

Nigel Cayzer

Chairman

Chairman of Oryx International Growth Fund Limited and a director of a number of other investment companies.
Charlotte Black

Charlotte Black

Independent Non-Executive Director

Ms Black is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and an independent public affairs consultant. She was until 2015 director, Corporate Affairs at Brewin Dolphin Holdings PLC, having previously served within that company as Marketing Director and in investment management roles. Charlotte has served on the boards of a number of industry related entities including The Wealth Management Association, The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and Euroclear PLC.

Randal Dunluce

Randal Dunluce

Independent Non-Executive Director

A Partner of Sarasin & Partners LLP responsible for the management of private client and charity portfolios as well as selfinvested personal pension schemes. He is chairman of Sarasin’s London partnership. He is also a non–executive director of a number of other private companies.
Martin Gilbert

Martin Gilbert

Non-Executive Director

Martin Gilbert is Chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments and Vice Chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen having previously been Co-Chief Executive. Prior to the merger, Martin was co-founder and Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management plc, established in 1983. Under Martin’s leadership, Aberdeen became one of the world’s leading independent asset managers through a combination of organic growth and acquisition, joining the FTSE 100 in March 2012. The Group’s core expertise is in equities, fixed income, alternatives and property and it manages assets for national and corporate pension funds, central banks, financial institutions, charities, foundations and private individuals around the world. Martin was appointed Chairman of the Prudential Regulation Authority's Practitioner Panel in December 2013. He sits on the UK Treasury’s Financial Services Trade and Investment Board and the Scottish Government’s Financial Services Advisory Board. He is also a member of the International Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the International Advisory Board of British American Business. Martin is also a non-executive director of Sky PLC. In 2008, Martin was named European Personality of the Year at the Funds Europe Awards. In 2009, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Aberdeen for services to business and entrepreneurship as well as an honorary degree from Heriot Watt University. In 2011, he was named Scotland PLC CEO of the Year at the Business Insider/PwC Scotland PLC Awards. Martin is Adjunct Professor of Finance at Imperial College Business School. Martin, who was born in Malaysia, was educated in Aberdeen and has an MA in Accountancy and an LLB. He divides his time between Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London, as well as overseeing the international operations of the Group.
Debby Guthrie

Debby Guthrie

Independent Non-Executive Director

Ms Guthrie is an experienced Japanese equity research salesman at Pelham Smithers Associates, having formerly been director, Yen Equity Sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and prior to that director, Japan Equity Sales at Smith New Court. As a first career, Debby worked in the Finance and Environment branches of the Hong Kong Government, as an Administrative Officer. Ms Guthrie is also a director of JP Morgan Japan Smaller Companies Investment Trust PLC.

Philip Yea

Philip Yea

Independent Non-Executive Director

Chief executive of 3i Group plc until 2009 and prior to that served as a managing director at Investcorp Bank the Bahrain listed private equity firm and was group finance director at Diageo plc. He is currently chairman of Greene King plc and Equiniti Group Plc. He is also a director of Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Limited and Computacenter Plc was formerly a trustee director of the Francis Crick Institute.
Image of Krishna Shanmuganathan

Krishna Shanmuganathan

Independent Non-Executive Director

A partner in Scylax Partners in 2016 and prior to that was managing partner at Hakluyt & Company (Asia), a risk advisory company, having established and led the Asia Pacific offices of the firm, based in Singapore. Before that Krishna held research and analyst roles at Fidelity International and Cambridge Associates after a successful and varied career in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He holds a number of other non-executive appointments including being on the advisory board of Serendipity Capital, chairman of the trustees of St Jude India Child Care Centres UK and a trustee of Solefield School Educational Trust.

  • Nigel Cayzer

    Chairman

    Chairman of Oryx International Growth Fund Limited and a director of a number of other investment companies.
  • Charlotte Black

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Ms Black is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and an independent public affairs consultant. She was until 2015 director, Corporate Affairs at Brewin Dolphin Holdings PLC, having previously served within that company as Marketing Director and in investment management roles. Charlotte has served on the boards of a number of industry related entities including The Wealth Management Association, The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and Euroclear PLC.

  • Randal Dunluce

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    A Partner of Sarasin & Partners LLP responsible for the management of private client and charity portfolios as well as selfinvested personal pension schemes. He is chairman of Sarasin’s London partnership. He is also a non–executive director of a number of other private companies.
  • Martin Gilbert

    Non-Executive Director

    Martin Gilbert is Chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments and Vice Chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen having previously been Co-Chief Executive. Prior to the merger, Martin was co-founder and Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management plc, established in 1983. Under Martin’s leadership, Aberdeen became one of the world’s leading independent asset managers through a combination of organic growth and acquisition, joining the FTSE 100 in March 2012. The Group’s core expertise is in equities, fixed income, alternatives and property and it manages assets for national and corporate pension funds, central banks, financial institutions, charities, foundations and private individuals around the world. Martin was appointed Chairman of the Prudential Regulation Authority's Practitioner Panel in December 2013. He sits on the UK Treasury’s Financial Services Trade and Investment Board and the Scottish Government’s Financial Services Advisory Board. He is also a member of the International Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the International Advisory Board of British American Business. Martin is also a non-executive director of Sky PLC. In 2008, Martin was named European Personality of the Year at the Funds Europe Awards. In 2009, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Aberdeen for services to business and entrepreneurship as well as an honorary degree from Heriot Watt University. In 2011, he was named Scotland PLC CEO of the Year at the Business Insider/PwC Scotland PLC Awards. Martin is Adjunct Professor of Finance at Imperial College Business School. Martin, who was born in Malaysia, was educated in Aberdeen and has an MA in Accountancy and an LLB. He divides his time between Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London, as well as overseeing the international operations of the Group.
  • Debby Guthrie

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Ms Guthrie is an experienced Japanese equity research salesman at Pelham Smithers Associates, having formerly been director, Yen Equity Sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and prior to that director, Japan Equity Sales at Smith New Court. As a first career, Debby worked in the Finance and Environment branches of the Hong Kong Government, as an Administrative Officer. Ms Guthrie is also a director of JP Morgan Japan Smaller Companies Investment Trust PLC.

  • Philip Yea

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Chief executive of 3i Group plc until 2009 and prior to that served as a managing director at Investcorp Bank the Bahrain listed private equity firm and was group finance director at Diageo plc. He is currently chairman of Greene King plc and Equiniti Group Plc. He is also a director of Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Limited and Computacenter Plc was formerly a trustee director of the Francis Crick Institute.
  • Krishna Shanmuganathan

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    A partner in Scylax Partners in 2016 and prior to that was managing partner at Hakluyt & Company (Asia), a risk advisory company, having established and led the Asia Pacific offices of the firm, based in Singapore. Before that Krishna held research and analyst roles at Fidelity International and Cambridge Associates after a successful and varied career in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He holds a number of other non-executive appointments including being on the advisory board of Serendipity Capital, chairman of the trustees of St Jude India Child Care Centres UK and a trustee of Solefield School Educational Trust.

 

Financial calendar

Year End 31 July
Accounts Published October
Annual General Meeting December
Dividend Paid December

Trust details

Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus PLC

Registered Office:
Bow Bells House
One Bread Street
London
EC4M 9HH

Registered in England and Wales as an Investment Company Number 3106339

Launch Date: October 1995

Risk Warning
Risk warning
The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount invested. The tax benefits relating to ISA investments may not be maintained. Investors should review the relevant Key Information Document (KID) brochure prior to making an investment decision.
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