All change on Aviva American Equity

Kyle, former US manager at American Express Asset Management, and Ingham, an American manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, took over the Luxembourg Sicav fund, run by Morley Fund Management, at the start of 2005.

With Norwich Union closing its US Growth fund in June last year, the Aviva American Equity Sicav is now NU’s only retail American offering. The $170m fund’s adopted UK distributor status on February 21, 2005.

Kyle (pictured), who ran a 20-30 stock US equity mandate at Amex, says the stocks were changed via a program trade the day she and Ingham took over the portfolio. “Alex and I had a three-month bedding-in process so we had already built a model portfolio of what we wanted to do to the fund,” she adds.

Following the change, just 10 stocks from the old portfolio survived. Kyle says: “While the fund follows neither a growth nor a value approach, at present there is a bias in the portfolio to large-cap growth companies.”

This, notes Kyle, is because large-caps currently look attractive from a valuation perspective. “With the dollar weakening it’s better to own companies with more international exposure, and which can benefit more from overseas growth prospects – that is the large-caps.”

However, while Kyle thinks the dollar is on a weakening trend, she does not forecast it collapsing all together. Indeed, she is upbeat on the prospects for the American market in 2005: “We expect earnings growth to come in at the 7-8% mark, and we think valuations look reasonable. Consequently we think a return of 10% for the year is not out of the question.”

Kyle says the fundamental driver in choosing stocks for the portfolio is fundamental analysis. “I am more growth-orientated while Alex is more of a value manager, so we complement each other well. Sector responsibilities are shared between us and the third member of our team, analyst Edward Booth.”

Booth, who moved across from Morley’s pan-European research team, will be joined by a second analyst later in the year.