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 > summer special 2000
For the year 2000

The Best Government Reformer
How Asia Is Governed
The Best Local Administrator
The Best Activist

The Best Dealmaker
The Best IPO
The Best Stock
The Best Advocate of Shareholder Rights
The Best Fund Manager
The Best Cost Cutter

The Best Airport
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The Best Hotel Gym
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In Tune with Nature
The Best Forest Preserve
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The Hottest Video Game
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Dealmaker | IPO |  Stock | Advocate of Shareholder Rights | Fund Manager | Cost Cutter
The Best Fund Manager

Ira Chaplain Asiaweek Pictures.
"Fundamentals come first but you have to be a momentum player too," says Peter Chau.

"There is no secret, you choose the right sector and the right stock" - Chau

Tell us your secret, Peter Chau. The Hong Kong fund manager is on a roll. Two awards from Lipper Analytical Services in 1990 for the best-performing currency fund and international bond fund. Top honors from Standard & Poor's Fund Services in 1991, 1992 and 1993 for best performance by a warrants fund. In 1999, Manager of the Year in the Greater China equity sector. And now, Asiaweek's Best Fund Manager for his stewardship of the CIBC PCF Hong Kong Plus Fund, by far the hottest performer among 280 unit trusts authorized for sale in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore or Taiwan.

"There is no secret," says Chau, 43, who is deputy managing director at TAL CEF Global Asset Management in Hong Kong. "You choose the right sector and the right stock." He knows how to pick them. Last year, Hong Kong Plus bought into tiny telecom supplier Tricom at about HK$0.30 per share. Richard Li, a son of billionaire Li Ka-shing, had bought the company as a vehicle for his technology ventures. Renamed Pacific Century Cyber Works (PCCW), it began defying gravity, reaching HK$28 — a gain of 9,200% for Chau — when Richard Li won a bid for Cable & Wireless HKT, Hong Kong's dominant phone company.

A disclosure here: TAL CEF is partly owned by Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong group. Some in Hong Kong saw Chau's Tricom purchase as a way of helping out Li's son. "Not too many people believed it would work," concedes Chau. "We were 60% sure, not 100%. But that's investment. You take risks." Hong Kong Plus also has Cheung Kong and another Li Ka-shing blue chip, Hutchison Whampoa, as core holdings. But Chau does not blindly hold on to these shares. He has sold all his PCCW stock at around HK$20.

Chau also took profits in, a Li Ka-shing Internet portal, and other tech shares. "We have gone back to Old Economy stocks," he says. Red chips and H-shares, which are Hong Kong-listed companies with major operations in China, now make up more than 34% of his fund.

"Fundamentals come first, but we have to be a momentum player too," says Chau. Translation: Hong Kong Plus will be on the lookout for stocks it can ride for short-term capital appreciation. This approach does not necessarily cause wild price swings. Standard & Poor's has awarded Hong Kong Plus five stars — meaning it has demonstrated consistent gains and low volatility in the past 36 months.

— By Cesar Bacani

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