Meet the Portfolio Manager

The best job in the world?

From getting to grips with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) balance of payments methodology to productive visits to companies in Argentina, Emily Fletcher explains why she loves managing BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust

Emily Fetcher

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. You may not get back the amount originally invested.

“I’m pretty handy with the BPM6 methodology these days,” says Emily Fletcher of the IMF’s balance of payments and International investment position. It’s a statement that may mean little to those outside the investment community, as it relates to the framework that the IMF recommends for reporting of a country’s balance of payments. But what’s interesting is that it comes in response to the question: “What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were starting out?”

“Coming into investments without an economics degree, I have had to spend a considerable amount of time and effort improving my knowledge of macroeconomics,” - says Emily with a master’s degree in theoretical physics from Cambridge University and 10 years of experience researching companies in frontier markets.

A big part of the Trust’s processes relates to understanding and anticipating macro-economic factors and Emily has developed a remarkable understanding in this regard. “In my view, it is important to have a positive macro view of frontier market countries as a pre-requisite to taking an investment position in the country,” says Emily. “As small open economies with an absence of deep capital markets, the performance of frontier stock markets tends to be significantly affected by the movements of their current account. We have implemented a consistent macro process which helps us to drive the thought process around capital allocation between countries within the Trust.”

We feel it is a unique asset class compared to other investment opportunities. As 85% of the emerging market index is in the top eight countries, the remaining 15% of the index is often overlooked by investors. “It is my belief that these smaller markets remain deeply inefficient and while they remain relatively under-researched, we have much greater likelihood of being able to find stocks that can outperform. Setting up both an operational and research platform that operates across all of these markets is complicated and therefore there are relatively few investment houses who have the scale to be able to offer a Frontier Markets product.”

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During her time with the Trust, Emily can point to several successes. “A good example is the investments we made after a trip to Argentina in August 2015. It was a few months before the election of Mauricio Macri and the market subsequently rallied more than 100% over the next two years.

“Also, we sold our positions in Nigeria in the second half of 2014, recognising that the fall in the oil price had not been fully discounted in stock prices.”

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success and, as Emily says, “Losing value is always frustrating.”

She says the most challenging situation the Trust has faced recently was when UAE and Qatar were reclassified as Emerging Markets by MSCI in 2014. The team felt the valuations in these countries were expensive and after further research the Trust significantly reduced its exposure. “It took some patience to wait until our approach was vindicated as the markets continued to stay high for some time, with investors getting initially ‘excited’ about the index reclassification,” she says.

Despite the occasional stresses and the long hours, Emily is happy in her work. “I have three children, I think hobbies is something that I will return to when they leave home! A perfect day would be a sunny day walking and sailing dinghies on Coniston Water, but only if all markets are shut globally,” she jokes.

In the meantime, she says that having the ability to work and travel across all these amazing countries each year as she researches investment opportunities means that she has the “best job in the world”.

Risk Warnings
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of current or future results and should not be the sole factor of consideration when selecting a product or strategy.

Changes in the rates of exchange between currencies may cause the value of investments to diminish or increase. Fluctuation may be particularly marked in the case of a higher volatility fund and the value of an investment may fall suddenly and substantially. Levels and basis of taxation may change from time to time.

Trust specific risks

Exchange rate risk: The return of your investment may increase or decrease as a result of currency fluctuations.

Emerging Europe: Emerging market investments are usually associated with higher investment risk than developed market investments. Therefore, the value of these investments may be unpredictable and subject to greater variation.

Frontiers: The Company invests in a number of developing emerging markets (“Frontier Markets”). Frontier Markets tend to be more volatile than more established markets and therefore present a higher degree of risk as they are less well regulated and may be affected by political and social instability and other factors.

Gearing risk: Investment strategies, such as borrowing, used by the Trust can result in even larger losses suffered when the value of the underlying investments fall.

Important Information:

Issued by BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 12 Throgmorton Avenue, London, EC2N 2DL. Tel: +44 (0)20 7743 3000. Registered in England and Wales No. 2020394. For your protection, telephone calls are usually recorded. BlackRock is a trading name of BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited.

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The Company is managed by BlackRock Fund Managers Limited (BFM) as the AIFM. BFM has delegated certain investment management and other ancillary services to BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited. The Company’s shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange and dealing may only be through a member of the Exchange. The Company will not invest more than 15% of its gross assets in other listed investment trusts. SEDOL™ is a trademark of the London Stock Exchange plc and is used under licence. 

Net Asset Value (NAV) performance is not the same as share price performance, and shareholders may realise returns that are lower or higher than NAV performance.

The BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust plc currently conducts its affairs so that its securities can be recommended by IFAs to ordinary retail investors in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules in relation to non-mainstream investment products and intends to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The securities are excluded from the Financial Conduct Authority’s restrictions which apply to non-mainstream investment products because they are shares in an investment trust.

BlackRock has not considered the suitability of this investment against your individual needs and risk tolerance. To ensure you understand whether our product is suitable, please read the fund specific risks in the Key Investor Document (KID) which gives more information about the risk profile of the investment. The KID and other documentation are available on the relevant product pages at We recommend you seek independent professional advice prior to investing.

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