Update on... Echiquier World Next Leaders
Launched in 2013, Echiquier World Next Leaders is an international growth equity fund investing through the prism of megatrends. Focused on around 30 companies, it is actively managed with conviction, based on a growth, quality and innovation approach, in search of tomorrow’s leaders in the universe of international small and mid-caps.
The first five months of 2023 saw growth stocks stage a strong comeback, fuelled notably by slower inflation and the easing of the upward trend on long-term interest rates. However, stock markets were driven primarily by a relatively small number of large caps, while small and mid-caps were largely overlooked. Despite its company size bias, the Echiquier World Next Leaders fund has regained momentum in 2023, thanks in large part to the performance of North American technology companies such as HUBSPOT, a customer relations software platform, and TRADE DESK, which specialises in online advertising, both of which continue to grow at a very strong pace. By contrast, other North American technology companies rank among the worst contributors. That includes ZOOMINFO, which is up against a challenging environment for sales enablement tools at a time when layoffs are on the rise in the technology sector. Lastly, BUMBLE is facing an unpromising environment for American consumers, particularly for its dating apps aimed at a relatively less affluent population segment.
The fund has made some major changes over the past seven months. First, it now incorporates a broader range of megatrends, including those linked to the planet’s changing demographics. The management team has also strengthened the portfolio’s fundamentals by focusing on stocks with high levels of profitability, coupled with sound balance sheets, and with reasonable valuations. Lastly, we have focused on resilient growth stocks with a high level of recurring revenues allowing them to cope with an economic environment that remains under serious threat following very substantial monetary tightening. For example, we have initiated a position on Japanese in vitro diagnostic equipment manufacturer SYSMEX, which derives most of its revenue from recurring sources such as reagents and services. We have also initiated a position on American HR software provider PAYCOM, which generates most of its revenue through a subscription-based model.
Echiquier World Next Leaders focuses on companies capable of becoming market leaders on a larger scale and driven by strong underlying long-term trends. In particular, we look for companies with attractive business models that can easily generate significant cash flows. Given the threats to global economic growth, we currently favour stocks with resilient growth profiles.
Rolando Grandi, CFA, and Louis Bersin, CFA, Fund Managers, LFDE
The Fund is mostly invested in equities and is primarily exposed to the risk of capital loss, equity risk, currency risk, discretionary management risk and emerging market risk.
The stocks referred to are given by way of example. Neither their presence in the portfolio nor their performance are guaranteed. The opinions expressed in this document are the authors’ own. LFDE shall not be held liable for these opinions in any way.
For more information on the characteristics, risks, and costs of these funds, and before investing, we invite you to read the regulatory documents available on our website at www.lfde.com.
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