Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus PLC

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

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Celebrating 25 years of Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus PLC

On our 25th anniversary, with the help of a distinguished panel of contributors, we thought it would be interesting to pose the question of Asia: the next 25 years.

2020 saw the world beset by the greatest economic crisis since the Second World War. It started in Asia but through the incredible discipline for which the peoples of Asia are such an exemplar, it has also been the first region to emerge towards recovery.

The articles within the booklet below explore both the broad global question of whether the 21st century will be the Asian Century and the economic impact of this on the broader market and also smaller companies. Our contributors also consider an array of issues that are shaping business, consumption trends and policy in Asia, including technology, supply chains, tariffs and disease control.

I would like to thank all our contributors for their time and thought-provoking comment and we hope you enjoy reading the articles below.

Latest news

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

What a year it’s been! From the lows in March when economies were being ravaged by Covid-19 and it looked like we were staring into the abyss, stock markets have staged a pretty remarkable recovery, supported by decisive action by governments and Central Banks across the world. As we write, the net asset value of the Trust is up by around 4% to the end of November 2020. But this number masks a huge discrepancy in performance across sectors, and we are in no doubt that the impact of the pandemic will be felt by businesses for years to come. Technology has been a clear beneficiary. Amid lockdowns and social distancing, more people are working from home and staying indoors. This has accelerated demand for online payment systems, e-commerce, digital services and cloud solutions. In contrast, several consumer sectors have felt the impact of restrictions to free movement, with hotels, retailers, auto makers and other discretionary segments bearing the brunt. Banks have also suffered disproportionately on expectations of slowing growth and rising non-performing loans. 

We have been cautious about the near-term outlook for global markets, given the apparent disconnect between equity prices and economic and corporate fundamentals. Yet the arrival of vaccines and the festive season have given us more reason to feel cheerful. Whilst the economic outlook for several markets remains uncertain and the geopolitical backdrop a worry, we are likely to witness a sharp rebound in activity across Asia, and consequently earnings. Indeed in many countries, particularly in North Asia, life is largely back to normal and GDP growth resilient, which bodes well. Asia remains well-positioned for global growth with good potential for wealth creation over the coming decades. Whilst tensions between the US and China are unlikely to go away, irrespective of a Biden win, Asia is still hitched to structural growth themes that will be very hard to unwind. 

In the midst of all this, smaller companies in the region have not featured as prominently as recipients of investment flows, meaning valuations remain attractive. Our focus continues to be on good quality companies that aim to weather the current storm. We feel comfortable with our holdings given their healthy balance sheets, visible revenue streams and defensible business models. And we’ll continue to look for emerging winners across a number of fields, old and new, in what must surely be the most exciting region globally for stock-pickers like ourselves. 

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.
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. With effect from 1 December 2020 Ms Guthrie was appointed Chair of the Audit Committee.

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.
  • 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. With effect from 1 December 2020 Ms Guthrie was appointed Chair of the Audit Committee.

  • 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. Please refer to the relevant Key Information Document (KID) prior to making an investment decision. Please be aware of scams that can affect investors.