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Investing in Uncertainty

The troubles of Greece and the eurozone are rarely far from the news these days. Dramatic images of mass disorder sparked by ECB mandated austerity measures regularly fill the television screen. The latest  bailout instalment was able to be delivered, but increasing discontent within the Greek populace poses the question as to whether public opinion will force what is being called a ‘disorderly default’. Surely investing in euro funds at a time like this (when what happens in Greece could cause dramatic ripples) is a dangerous game – but could it pay off?


There can be no doubt that a lot of very knowledgeable and experienced people are being extremely cautious about euro funds. The uncertainty hanging over the EU is putting off a lot of potential investors. On the other side of the coin, a £110bn bailout for Greece has been passed, and if everything goes to plan then those that had the bravery to go where others feared to tread will reap the rewards.


There are a lot of choices when it comes to funds that are investing in Europe. They are taking a wide variety of approaches, some of these being seen as higher risk plays than others. For those looking to put their money into these funds there are certainly a lot of variables to be considered.

One investment trust which seems to be opting for something of a high risk strategy is Montaro European Smaller Companies. This fund is buying up shares in eurozone based companies at the smaller end of the spectrum. This strategy has seen a shareholder return of 3% over the last five years.

Montaro European Smaller Companies is managed by the somewhat mercurial Charles Montanaro. Not everybody agrees with his approach, although among those who like to go against the flow of received opinion when investing his investment trust certainly holds appeal, with its share price increasing by 82% in the last 36 months.

Rob Burnett’s ‘Neptune European Opportunities’ appear to be taking a much more cautious tack. The European financial sector in particular is viewed by Burnett as being of concern. Worrying about the potential for further nasty surprises from banking is far from being an uncommon viewpoint at this juncture.

Despite the eurozone sharing a currency and monetary policy it has become increasingly clear that there are very different conditions prevailing in the various constituent parts.  Germany and the North are not exactly in the same boat as Greece and the beleaguered and debt addled countries on the South of the Continent.  Funds such as ‘BlackRock European Dynamic’ are seeking to capitalize on this by buying shares in companies based in the economically stronger regions, whilst leaving the weaker ones well alone.

All in all there are definitely opportunities to make money investing in Europe at the moment. There is also the opportunity to lose your shirt, with investors being, to a very large extent, hostages of fortune. Very careful consideration is needed.

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March 17, 2012 um 6:46 am
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