UK small-caps – the case for investment

Richard will offer his views and outlook for UK smaller companies. He will also share the ideas and themes that underpin his current portfolio and comment on the attractive valuation gap he believes has opened up between UK small-caps and their larger counterparts.


Richard Bullas, portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton

Richard is co-manager on the Franklin UK Smaller Companies Fund.

Japanese equities – industry shifts and breakthroughs

Ageing populations, an area where Japan is seen as a frontrunner, tend to hurt GDP figures. Reiko will explain that a combination of this demographic and a tight labour force in Japan, has sparked industry shifts and breakthroughs associated with the prevailing work-life reform, self-driving, the 5G network, personalised medical treatment and so on. She will also discuss how the rising wealth of neighbouring South East Asia and growing investment in manufacturing and the supply chain, together with the fears surrounding the trade war, should benefit Japanese manufacturers while improving corporate governance has increasingly contributed to better capital deployment and better shareholder returns.


Reiko Mito, investment director, GAM Investments

Reiko is co-manager of GAM Japan Equity and GAM Star Japan Leaders Fund.

Swimming against the tide – high yield in an economic slowdown

Slowing growth, unsustainable business models and disruptive markets present challenges for high-yield investors. That said, a positive technical backdrop is provided by the shrinking high-yield market. With increased volatility and issuer performance dispersion, it should be a good year for stockpickers. Uli Gerhard will discuss the best way to invest in high yield given the current market environment.


Uli Gerhard, senior portfolio manager – high yield, Insight Investment

Uli became a portfolio manager in June 2012 and is responsible for the high-yield strategy.

Active return potential with passive-like risk

The rising uncertainties of the recent past are confronting investors with a dilemma: while the low-return environment is tempting them to take on increased risk to generate sufficiently high outcomes, the accompanying uncertainty results in meaningful reluctance to do so. Thorsten will explain why Invesco’s Enhanced Index fund range offers a potential solution, with well-diversified investment ‘factors’ providing an explicit outperformance expectation, while limiting active risk. He will also explain how factors work and why they have proven to be a source of active returns.


Thorsten Paarmann, senior portfolio manager, Invesco Quantitative Strategies, Invesco

Based in Frankfurt, Thorsten is a member of the Portfolio Management Team and is responsible for business development, risk control and investment communication. He started his investment career in 2000 at Cominvest Asset Management, joining Invesco in 2004.​

Asian equities: an uncomplicated approach

Jason will focus on three key areas that can help investors navigate a more turbulent environment: liquidity, balance sheet strength and barriers to entry. He will explain how his portfolio is tilted towards the largest and most liquid companies, which he believes could be a differentiating factor during bouts of illiquidity and discuss how he targets companies with good capital management, and sustainable and attractive dividend yields with a focus on total return.


Jason Pidcock, head of strategy, Asian income, Jupiter Asset Management

Jason is the manager of the Jupiter Asian Income and Asia Pacific Income funds.

US equities – why dividend growth is a winning strategy

The narrowness of market leadership in recent years has made it difficult – though not impossible – to outperform the US market without a heavy reliance on the momentum-driven gains in technology. John will discuss his diversified approach to US equities and explain why backing companies with long-term dividend growth is a compelling way to generate alpha. He will also share his views on topical themes, including the ongoing trade war, and highlight the exciting opportunities he sees arising from the uncertainty being generated.


John Weavers, fund manager, M&G Investments

John manages the M&G North American Dividend Fund, and is deputy fund manager of the M&G Global Dividend Fund and M&G Global Listed Infrastructure Fund. Prior to April 2015, he was deputy fund manager of the M&G Pan European Dividend and Dividend funds.

Identifying alpha in continental Europe

European equity markets continue their upward climb despite continuing geopolitical risks and corporate margins running above their long-term historical average. But what happens next? And how can investors identify companies that will outperform over the long term? Mathew will discuss the opportunities in European equities with a focus on continental Europe.


Matthew Barrett, equity portfolio manager, MFS Investment Management

Matthew is an investment officer and equity portfolio manager, running the firm’s International Growth and European ex UK strategies. 

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