Manning & Napier’s International Series Fund is a go-anywhere vehicle that seeks out unique investment opportunities across the globe that its management team believes will flourish under prevailing country-wide themes.
Currently, the three member team of Ben Rozin, Marc Tommasi and Sidharth Abrol, are most excited about India, a country that Rozin said is going through a “watershed moment.”
“We had been following India for a while but we got very excited after Narendra Modi took over as prime minister,” Rozin said. “Modi is a reformer, we thought, he’s a doer and not a bureaucrat, and so we basically looked at the Indian market and saw it as a place where policy development is better than in other emerging markets and a market we could benefit from.”
The fund initiated investments in several sectors of the Indian economy, Rozin said, which span the gamut from infrastructure and agriculture to financial services and consumer industries. India is now the largest emerging market holding in the International Series Fund and it is exemplary of how the fund invests across the world.
“We start by looking at what sort of macro changes are going on in different places and then we drill down to the level of specific companies that have a potential for upside from those changes,” Rozin said. “In India, for instance, there’s reform going on in many areas, notably the power sector, and so we look for those companies that are well exposed to those changes and learn their bottom-up stories.”
Ultimately, the fund looks to hold names that have the potential to benefit from both macro themes and individual company dynamics. But valuation is also an important factor, Rozin said, which is why the team has cut down its exposure to Europe, an area they’d overweighted in 2011 (“we saw a sovereign debt crisis coming but we thought the tools needed to solve it were there,” Rozin said), as prices have risen. “During the Taper Tantrum, we started to see good valuations in emerging markets so that’s when we moved to overweight that sector,” he said.