Investing in Asia Pacific the Quality way

Historically, investing in Asia Pacific has been characterised by companies with high levels of capital intensity, cyclicality and limited investment in areas such as R&D or advertising. However, the past decade has seen the emergence of a growing quality universe in Asia Pacific, full of companies that maintain high levels of return on invested capital (ROIC). This broadened opportunity set now enables the application of the Ninety One Quality approach, and exposure to the strong performance these companies typically deliver.

Oct 22, 2020

8 minutes

Charlie Dutton
Historically, investing in Asia Pacific has been characterised by companies with high levels of capital intensity, cyclicality and limited investment in areas such as R&D or advertising. However, the past decade has seen the emergence of a growing quality universe in Asia Pacific, full of companies that maintain high levels of return on invested capital (ROIC). This broadened opportunity set now enables the application of the Ninety One Quality approach, and exposure to the strong performance these companies typically deliver.

The fast view

  • Asia Pacific has typically been full of capital intensive, cyclical companies; this is changing
  • A focus on high-ROIC can offer access to a growing pool of profitable, high-quality businesses
  • Our analysis shows that these companies typically outperform over the longer-term

Historically, investing in Asia has been characterised by companies with high levels of capital intensity, cyclicality and limited investment in R&D, advertising and intellectual property – all factors that help build and consolidate brands. While quality stocks did exist and performed well over time, the opportunity set was narrow.

However, the emergence of a quality universe in Asia – companies that maintain high levels of return on invested capital (ROIC) – now enables the application of the Ninety One Quality approach through a dedicated Asia Pacific Franchise strategy. Our approach seeks attractively valued, financially strong companies that exhibit robust and defensive business models and possess strong and enduring competitive advantages.

We believe this enables investors to have exposure to the highest quality companies in Asia, with diversity through both geography and sector. This in turn, means reduced exposure to cyclical stocks and sectors within the Asian universe, where timing of the economic cycle can be a determinant to performance. Our empirical analysis highlights the strong performance that these high-quality stocks have generated in Asia. Those companies that are able to sustain high returns through their enduring competitive advantages should, we believe, outperform over the longer term.

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Specific risks:
All investments carry the risk of capital loss. The value of investments, and any income generated from them, can fall as well as rise and will be affected by changes in interest rates, currency fluctuations, general market conditions and other political, social and economic developments, as well as by specific matters relating to the assets in which the investment strategy invests. If any currency differs from the investor’s home currency, returns may increase or decrease as a result of currency fluctuations. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Authored by

Charlie Dutton
Portfolio Manager

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