We aim to deliver strong, long-term returns to our clients by participating in the value generated by the best companies in Asia and emerging markets.

First State Stewart Asia - Equity investment that takes the long view

  • Long-term, absolute return mindset
  • Investment process tested through diverse market conditions for over two decades
  • Specialist in the Asia-Pacific region, with investments in China, China A-shares, global emerging markets, India and Japan.
  • Focus on quality companies at sensible prices has resulted in high conviction, relatively concentrated portfolios
  • More than 1,500 due diligence visits a year

Why First State Stewart Asia

We believe that investing for the long-term in high quality companies, with as much focus on capital preservation as capital growth is the best way to achieve strong and sustainable investment returns in emerging markets and Asia Pacific.

How we do it

First State Stewart Asia invests in small, mid-cap and large cap companies located in Asia-Pacific countries including China, China A-shares, global emerging markets, India and Japan. Our focus is on finding value with a view to holding companies over the long term.

The investment approach is primarily bottom-up, meaning we start with a careful consideration of each stock before assessing the macroeconomic environment. Stock selection is based on proprietary research and an extensive program of more than 1,500 company visits each year.

Considerations include barriers to entry, track record in achieving good returns on invested capital through excellent capital allocation decisions, management integrity, and whether the company exhibits a long-term mindset.

Our capital preservation objective and longstanding focus on quality companies at reasonable prices has resulted in high conviction, relatively concentrated portfolios.

Review and monitoring forms a crucial part of the investment process. The process includes monitoring of country watch lists at regular team meetings, and bi-annual reviews of fair market valuations.

The team avoids Investing in companies that cause direct harm to society, have untrustworthy owners, poor corporate culture or an invalid social licence to operate. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessment and due diligence form a key part of the investment analysis and dialogue with companies.

Our team

Led by Michael Stapleton and Martin Lau, the team consists of 19 specialists based in Edinburgh, Hong Kong, London and Singapore with an average of 12 years of experience.

Regular discussions within the investment team enhance understanding and highlight risks. However, the lead portfolio manager makes investment decisions at his or her own discretion.

The team have a non-hierarchical culture in which portfolio managers are also analysts and junior members of the team are encouraged to challenge portfolio managers. Analysts are given the opportunity to run team portfolios with real money, facilitating development and succession planning.

Our history

First State Stewart Asia originated from Stewart Ivory, which was acquired by Colonial Group in 2000 and later rebranded to First State Stewart. In July 2015, First State Stewart was divided into First State Stewart Asia and Stewart Investors.

Additional information on First State Stewart Asia for Institutional investors 

Responsible Investment

We believe that excellence in RI, operating to the highest standards of professional ethics and our commitment to our stewardship principles delivers better long term investment outcomes for our clients.

Our RI strategy is based upon three strategic pillars of quality, stewardship and engagement. This strategy is underpinned by a strong governance framework and is supported by our specialist RI team. Each year we publish a responsible investment and stewardship report which outlines our progress in these areas and profiles each of our investment team’s approaches to responsible investment. We also include over 100 case studies of responsible investment in practice

View the interactive report >

View fund performance and documents available in your region. Not all strategies are available in all regions.

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