• Investment objective: seek long-term capital growth by investing generally in Japanese large cap stocks (with market capitalisation in excess of US$ 1bn)
  • The fund is classified under article 8 of the European Regulation on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector (SFDR)
  • The strategy has been awarded a rating of AA from MSCI ESG Rating and is rated by Morningstar/Sustainalytics with the score of 4 globes
  • The strategy has 5 Stars from Morningstar

Share Class


Cumulative Performance (%)

Fund Inception 12 June 2014

Daily Monthly Ytd 1Yr 3Yr 5Yr Incept. Incept.Date

The performance data shown represents past performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. The investment return and the principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Strategy & Manager

Funds Strategy

  • Investment objective: seek long-term capital growth by investing generally in Japanese large cap stocks (with market capitalisation in excess of US$ 1bn)
  • Investment process: analyse long term company fundamentals through extensive in-house bottom up research with a strong risk management ethos
  • Portfolio of around 30 companies which are well managed, profitable and with good prospects. Portfolio managers believe that Cash Flow Return on Investment and value creation are key

Investment Manager

Alma Capital Investment Management “ACIM”

Key Persons

James Pulsford – Fund Manager

James started his career at Morgan Grenfell in 1987, moving to Japan shortly thereafter. During his 12 years in Tokyo, he went on to become the Head of the Small Cap Equity team. James returned to London in 1999 where he managed a number of Japanese large cap products for what became Deutsche Asset Management. As well as various Japanese long only mandates, James has developed the Equilibria Japan long/short strategy at this time. James now has over 30 years’ experience investing in Japan and speaks fluent Japanese. He holds a BA from Oxford University.

Tom Grew – Fund Manager

Tom started his career in management consulting before moving to Eikoh Research Investment Management (ERIM) in 2018, an independent asset management company led by James Pulsford established as a result of the spin out of the Japanese Equity Team from Deutsche Asset Management. At ERIM, he worked on the long-only and hedge funds management. Tom holds a BA from Cambridge University and has completed the CFA syllabus.

Statistics & Commentary


The performance data shown represents past performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. The investment return and the principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Portfolio Characteristics

Top 10 Position Details

Investment Manager's Commentary

as of 30/11/2022

Market Review and Outlook

The Topix continued its winning streak and rose for the fourth consecutive month this year, rallying in the second half of April on dovish comments from new BOJ Governor Ueda and easing of global inflation concerns after a dull first half of the month on weak global macroeconomic data. Mixed economic data in the US continues to leave the debate open as to the likelihood of recession, the trajectory of inflation and the Federal Reserve’s decision making. April flash PMIs in the US showed an increase in economic activity and core inflation increased to 5.6% in April but there were also signs of cooling in the labour market and wage growth showed signs of softening leading investors to price in a high likelihood that the Fed’s 25bp hike in May will be the last in 2023. The BOJ held the April monetary policy meeting on May 28th and the decision to maintain the status quo matched comments from Ueda earlier in the month leading the Yen to weaken from 132.7 at the end of March to 136.3 at the end of April, reversing the strengthening seen in March. 10 year JGBs recovered to yield 0.39% at month end. Foreigners returned to the market in size after heavy selling in March buying Y3tn across the two major markets and futures. Top performing sectors were largely in defensive areas and included Utilities, Media & Entertainment, Real Estate Management & Development, Food, Beverage & Tobacco and Insurance with Semiconductors & Semiconductor Technology, Materials, Technology Hardware & Equipment and Financial Services lagging. Topix Growth underperformed Topix Value by 1.7%, these two indices have performed roughly in line year to date.

New BOJ governor Kazuo Ueda behaved in line with market expectations during the first monetary policy meeting of his incumbency, leaving both the YCC and NIRP policies in place and reiterating the view that until there are signs of core inflation sustainably holding above 2% there is no urgent need to change tack. He did however mention in his press conference that it may be necessary to look for a more sustainable monetary easing framework that addresses side effects should underlying inflation continuing to trend below 2% in a sustainable manner and this is an indication of his longer-term philosophy on the matter. All-Japan Core CPI for March came in at 3.1%, matching February’s number however core CPI ex fresh food and energy rose from 2.1% to 2.3%, another new high since 1992, and it is this number, alongside wage hike data that holds the key to catalysing a change in the BOJ stance. Economic conditions in Japan remain reasonably robust and the headline industrial production index rose 0.8% month on month in March 2023; this was stronger than expected and a further rise of 1.1% month on month for April is forecast. The growth is being driven by auto production, which is benefitting from an easing of semiconductor-related supply chain constraints, and expansion in production machinery and chemicals. The Economy Watchers Survey showed positive readings for both current and future conditions in March at 55.2 and 54.1 respectively. Unemployment remains low at 2.8% in March and the labour market remains tight with the jobs to applicant ratio at 1.32x.

We make no change to our core investment strategy; we assume a reasonably dull economic environment in 2023 but some improvement in 2024 in our modelling and remain focused on finding companies with good medium-term prospects with the ability to withstand a difficult environment in 2023. The portfolio has neither a clear pro-cyclical nor contra-cyclical bias, neither does it have a significant tilt in terms of growth or value. We continue to back companies operating in areas of secular growth such as digital transformation, electrification of the auto market and increasing use of technology in healthcare. The overweight in banks is retained but at a low level and anticipates an end to the BOJ’s negative interest policy at some stage during 2023/4. In order of size, the fund’s top sector overweights are Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment, Health Care Equipment & Services, Energy, and Diversified Financials. The top underweighted sectors are Capital Goods, Technology Hardware & Equipment, Telecommunication Services, Media & Entertainment and Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences. We believe that Japanese companies offer attractively priced fundamentals with the Topix trading at a prospective PER of 13.4x, a PBR of 1.29x and a dividend yield of 2.48% and we are encouraged by recent moves by global investors who appear to be allocating more capital to Japan. Improvements in corporate governance continue to be seen and we expect further growth in dividends and share buybacks across the corporate sector over the medium term and recent developments in this regard are very encouraging and seem to be accelerating. Buybacks in FY22 reached a new high of Y9.7tn, exceeding FY19’s previous record of Y7.3tn and full year financial results and FY23 forecast announcements are showing a continuation of this story.


The Fund rose by 4.06% (JPY share class) in April, outperforming Topix which rose by 2.70% (dividends reinvested).

Stock selection was the driver of the fund’s outperformance of the Topix index over the month with sector allocation a minor negative. Being underweight in both Materials and Technology Hardware & Equipment and modestly overweight in Utilities and Food, Beverage & Tobacco helped performance with the heavy overweight in Semiconductors & Semiconductor Technology more than offsetting these positives. Underweights in Media & Entertainment, Consumer Services and Consumer Discretionary were also modest drags on performance. Stock selection was strong within Banks and notably the new position in the recently listed digital bank, SBI Sumishin Net Bank which performed very strongly. The positions in medical technology maker Terumo and Automotive component maker Denso were also positive contributors as was the position in Keisei Electric Railway which stands to benefit from re-opening and comes within the new scope of focus by investors on balance sheet value. The utility company Kansai Electric power was also a strong performer, rising sharply after their financial results and forecasts for FY23 profits at the end of the month positively surprised the market. Weaker performers included the biotechnology company Peptidream, Nippon steel, robot and factory automation player Yaskawa Electric and housing materials company Lixil.

Our trading activity in April was reasonably muted, we decided to sell one holding and start two new positions. We sold our position in chemicals company Toray Industries after reassessing the outlook for a recovery in demand and operating margins, particularly in the performance chemical and carbon fibre segments which we now think business will be more severe than our previous estimates. After significant recent underperformance and having met again with the management of Visional, we decided to buy a position for the fund. Visional operates the white-collar job matching platform Bizreach which is growing quickly and has excellent prospects as recruitment in this area in Japan digitalises and the frequency of job changing continues to increase from a low base. The economics and margins of this business are very attractive despite the excellent value offered to head-hunters and corporate customers and we think the current share price doesn’t discount the growth in profits we expect. We also decided to repurchase a position in Sony, a business we consider to be of high quality with excellent technology and IP assets. In the semiconductor area, we expect them to continue to benefit from Apple’s decision to move to larger die sizes and Chinese smartphone manufacturers seem like to follow this in time. In the music and pictures area we expect performance to remain robust on the back of their strong contents IP and industry position.

Facts & Documents


Fund Domicile: Luxembourg


Fund Launch: 12 June 2014

Base Currency: JPY

Depositary, Administrator, Transfert Agent: BNP Paribas SA

Dealing: Each day with 1-day notice

Cut-off time: 12 pm CET

Management Company: Alma Capital Investment Management (LU)

Investment Manager: Alma Capital Investment Management (LU)

Fund Managers: James Pulsford

Countries where the fund is registered:
Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, Belgium, Ireland, Spain

Sustainability-related disclosures:
Environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) criteria have been integrated in the investment decision-making process. An ESG analysis is conducted for all target companies. This is done prior to any investment, but also on an ongoing basis. In cases where the ESG analysis process flags material sustainability risks for a particular investment, the Investment Manager will not consider making the investment, and will look to divest when such material sustainability risks arise for a particular investment. No index has been designated as a reference benchmark for this sub-fund. Further information can be found in the prospectus of the sub-fund. The extent to which the above-mentioned characteristics are met will be included in the annual report of the fund, as from the first report issued after 1 January 2022.


Institutional USD Hedged Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1013117160   Ticker: AEJIUHA LX    Launch: 12 Jun 2014

Institutional GBP Hedged Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1013116949   Ticker: AEJIGHA LX    Launch: 12 Jun 2014

Institutional EUR Hedged Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1013116782   Ticker: AEJIEHA LX    Launch: 10 Dec 2014

Institutional JPY Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1013116519   Ticker: AEJPIJA LX    Launch: 10 Dec 2014

Institutional GBP Unhedged Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1152097108   Ticker: AEKJEGC LX    Launch: 17 Feb 2015

Institutional EUR Unhedged Distribution share class
ISIN: LU1870374920   Ticker: AEJLIED LX    Launch: 8 Mar 2019

Institutional EUR Unhedged Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1870374508   Ticker: AEJLIEC LX    Launch: 4 Feb 2019

Retail Clean JPY Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1744752707   Ticker: AEJRCJC LX    Launch: 28 Apr 2022

Retail JPY Capitalisation share class
ISIN: LU1013117327   Ticker: AEJPRJA LX    Launch: 28 Apr 2022