Curling moves F&C European Prime away from telecoms and toward tech

Curling has decided to move the £37.8m fund to an overweight position in the IT sector, which, she says, offers greater long-term growth opportunities. She adds that these stocks are also less prone to concerns over inflation and interest rates in America.

Within the sector, Curling is currently favouring companies that provide anti-virus technology for mobile phones, such as F-Secure, a Finnish company. She has also looked at Swedish firms that provide IT solutions, such as Hiq and Semcon.

As a result, she has taken an underweight position in telecoms, selling her holdings in Telecom Italia, France Telecom and Deutsche Telecom. While the fund was overweight in the sector, Curling says telecoms now carry a downside risk. A potential pick-up in the capital spending cycle could see money being reinvested rather than paid to investors, she adds. However, the fund has kept a 2.6% holding in Mobistar, a Belgian communications firm.

The fund’s largest holdings last month were in UBS and Novartis, with its largest regional weightings in France, Germany and Switzerland. Curling also manages the £269.3m F&C European fund, as well as the £388.9m F&C Eurotrust. The European Prime fund, launched in late 2001, has returned 15.2% against a sector average of 22.2% over one year to March 23.