How Did the Columbia Pacific/Asia Fund Fare in 1Q16?

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Columbia Pacific/Asia Fund overview

In this article, we’ll outline the performance of the Columbia Pacific/Asia Fund Class A (CASAX), which is one of the classes available for retail investors. As of February 2016, the fund was managing assets worth $217 million and was invested in 89 issues including the stocks of companies like Sony (SNE), ORIX (IX), Westpac Banking Corporation (WBK), and Rio Tinto (RIO).

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Columbia Pacific/Asia Fund’s returns

From a purely net asset value return standpoint, CASAX was an average performer among its peer group both in the one-year period ending March 31, 2016, and in 1Q16. When we refer to the peer group, we mean the group of nine funds chosen for this review.

As a benchmark for all funds in this review, we’ll look at the metrics of the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index. Although not all funds use this index as their benchmark, we’ll use this index across this series for parity. For comparison, we’ll use two combinations of ETFs that provide exposure to stocks from the region. The first group consists of the Vanguard FTSE Pacific ETF (VPL) and the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), and the second group consists of the iShares Core MSCI Pacific ETF (IPAC) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM).

Quantitative metrics of the Columbia Pacific/Asia Fund

For the one-year period ending in March 2016, the standard deviation for CASAX stood at 17.7%. This was a little lower than the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index’s standard deviation of 17.8%, but it was higher than the arithmetic average of the standard deviation of 16.8% for all funds in this review.

The Sharpe ratio for CASAX for the one-year period ending March 2016 was negative. However, in 1Q16, CASAX was one of three funds to post a positive ratio vis-à-vis the aforementioned benchmark.

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The information ratio shows the consistency of fund managers and measures their ability to generate excess returns over a benchmark. Considering the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index as the benchmark, the information ratio of CASAX was the second best among its peer group for the one-year period ending in March 2016.

Investor takeaway

CASAX’s quantitative metrics for 2015 placed it among the top three funds. For 1Q16, both its alpha and information ratios were the second best among its peers. This shows superior skill in choosing stocks and an ability to generate returns better than those of the benchmark. Given this performance, this fund might make your short list of instruments that can help you invest in the Asia-Pacific region. Investors already invested in the fund may want to stay put.

In the next part of this series, we’ll move on to the second fund in this review: the Fidelity Pacific Basin Fund (FPBFX).

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