• The Baring European Opportunities Fund will seek out investment opportunities primarily in European smaller companies, including firms based in the UK

• The Fund will be co-managed by Nick Williams and Colin Riddles, who together have a combined 42 years of investment experience

• Barings' investment and research teams will apply the investment philosophy behind the successful Baring Select Trust to find mispriced opportunities

Baring Asset Management (Barings), the international investment firm, has today announced its plan to launch the Baring European Opportunities Fund in the coming weeks, subject to regulatory approval. The Fund, which will be co-managed by Nick Williams and Colin Riddles, will seek out investment opportunities in European smaller companies, including firms based in the UK, and will be benchmarked against the MSCI Europe Smallcap Index.

The highly experienced managers will use a combination of top-down macroeconomic analysis together with a comprehensive, bottom-up stock selection process to seek out strong investment returns. The European smaller caps sector is substantially under-researched compared to larger cap stocks, and, supported by Barings' sophisticated in-house research team and analysts, Nick and Colin will focus on European companies with the ability to deliver positive earnings surprises. Out of a potential investment universe of around 7,000 European companies, the Baring European Opportunities Fund is expected to hold circa 100 individual holdings.

Nick Williams, Head of the Small Cap Equities Team at Barings, has been Manager of the highly rated Baring Europe Select Trust since 2004. The Fund, which has been awarded a '5 Year Long-Term' grading and a Gold grading from S&P Capital IQ1, invests primarily in European smaller companies – but not in the UK – and has ranked first quartile amongst its Morningstar peer group over the past three and five years and second quartile over 1 year2. Colin Riddles, who has just under 20 years' experience in the fund management industry, with a particular focus on UK small caps, is an Investment Manager in Barings' Small Cap Equity Team and has been working closely with Nick since 2010.

Nick Williams, Head of Small Cap Equities at Barings comments:

"We currently see a very positive environment for smaller companies in Europe and the UK. For a while now European equities have languished compared to other markets as investors have been cautious on the prospects for European economic growth. Despite this, exciting investment opportunities continued to be found in smaller companies. Recently there has been an improved sentiment towards European equities, and whilst we have seen gains in European and UK smaller companies we believe there remain interesting stock opportunities for us to identify and we continue to be bullish towards the smaller companies asset class on a pan-European basis.

Investing - FreeFoto.com

Investing – FreeFoto.com

"There are clear investment opportunities which, given our strong experience in the asset class, and proven investment process and research capability, we will aim to realise for the Baring European Opportunities Fund. Smaller companies have outperformed large cap stocks in four of the past five years3 while our analysis shows that having the UK in a European investment universe can reduce investment risk by adding diversification."

Colin Riddles adds, "What sets Barings apart is our focused European research approach, and this has allowed us to identify and invest in some high-growth, shareholder-focused European success stories. Nick and I bring different investment experience to the team but both have the same views on what makes a good investment."

The Baring European Opportunities Fund will be a UCITS Fund, domiciled in Ireland. The minimum investment for the retail share class is €3,500 with an annual management fee of 1.5%. A share class for institutional investors is also available.

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