In a volatile precious metals price environment, company positioning is critical, the focus should be to be invested in companies in a relative sweet spot. Mining companies are entering a phase of improving margins and the valuation is very low on a relative basis compared to the global equity markets. A portfolio of precious metals equities reduces firm specific risks while it increases the commodity exposure.
The Precious Metals Champions fund is an open-end fund incorporated in Liechtenstein. The Precious Metals Champions Fund offers the investor the opportunity to participate in an actively managed portfolio of companies with exposure to the precious metals market and this in a pragmatic sustainable way. This means considering sustainability criteria without losing sight for return. The Fund will invest its assets globally in equities or equity-type instruments of companies that explore, develop, produce and distribute precious metals. The Fund’s objective is to achieve long-term return.
Commodities have been key in the economic development of the world. The industrialisation and urbanisation of the developing world is far from complete. Urban population is expected to grow globally from 52% to 66% by 2050. Urbanisation drives per capita wealth increase and with it the demand for natural resources. The increase in average income is happening on an unprecedented scale and speed. During the next 20 years the world population is expected to grow larger and on average younger. Middle class expands on a global basis, more than doubling by 2030 to reach >5 billion people. India and China show the largest increases with each reaching more than 1 billion middle-class citizens, China alone has the potential for 250 million people to urbanise in the next 10 years. By 2030, global middle-class consumption is expected to be more than $63 trillion vs $35 trillion in 2015. Demand for commodities remains continual, while they are becoming scarcer.
At the beginning of 2016 Bloomberg Commodity Index had fallen to lowest level since 1999. High prices before the financial crisis led companies to focus on volume growth, no matter the cost. Soaring supply flooded the market and exceeded demand, sending prices tumbling. Several price shocks have eroded investor confidence. AuM in the commodity space is still very low currently. However, the typical commodity cycle is starting to turn attractive as demand is recovering, inventory are drawn and supply tightens. There are several commodities that are in deficit currently and may keep so in the medium term.
Over the last few years natural resource equities underperformed heavily the global equity markets (MSCI World Index). The valuation is very low on a relative basis compared to the global equity markets. However, during the last few years natural resource companies took the opportunity to clean up the cost base and this resulted in a >40% cost deflation, much faster and higher than expected. Capex budgets came also down significantly on greater capital discipline and the shift into shorter cycle projects. There is a shift from investment mode to harvest mode as margins recovered strongly. The natural resource universe is expected to generate a record high free cash flow yield going forward. In conclusion, we may enter the sweetest stage of the cycle.
Our investment process is based on a quantitative approach to find the best-in-class companies. The consistent methodological process, which has been backtested successfully, is non-predictive with >90% of the analysis based on historical data. Our process has a portfolio view and helps to create a balanced portfolio instead of single stock bets or market cap weightings. After defining the broad investment universe, selecting the best-in-class subsectors with the highest margins or most attractive investment opportunities, the universe is further filtered down to companies with significant subsector exposure.
The Precious Metals Champions Fund consists of a unique combination of investments in the best gold companies but has a minimum gold investment strategy to protect the gold equity downside. The Investment Management team will apply a rule based systematic approach with a gold risk factor that helps to define the current gold environment and according to that adjust the gold equities vs. gold allocation target.
To properly analyse natural resource related companies, the ICG Investment team makes use of standardised data. We developed a proprietary data base to better analyse financial and operating figures. Extensive data is used (>160’000 data points) to analyse trends across the industry and pinpoint sector champions.
To better measure the relative attractiveness of natural resource companies in a specific subsector we use sub-sector Alpha Scorecards to facilitate the investment decision. The ICG Alpha Scorecard is a quantitative and qualitative screening scorecard that pinpoints sector champions with strong economic «moat» based on different variables. The approach helps to identify companies with a relative good track record in different key financial and operational variables (statistically robust dependence of performance to scorecard variables). The majority of variables are based on historical figures from the last fiscal year or based on a 3 year average. The majority of variables are also dynamic. The Investment Management team selects the top 25 companies based on the ICG Alpha Scorecard ranking. All positions are equally weighted, however we may reduce the weight or even exclude a company on exceptionally events (e.g. oil spill, political risk). Monthly position update based on all instruments and rebalancing is only done if it makes sense.
On this website the performance is updated only monthly. But daily performance is visible on all financial portals like Bloomberg
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More information and documents available on fundinfo or upon request.