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Equity Perspectives

video

Portfolio Manager Ed Allinson discusses the "multi-layered" approach to uncovering opportunities among international small caps.

Transcript

Narrator: This is Lord Abbett's Portfolio Commentary.

Mike Weldon: This is Mike Weldon, partner and director of marketing at Lord Abbett. Joining me today is Ed Allinson, portfolio manager. Ed, welcome. Thanks for being here today. I want to start with international small cap. Let's talk about the team and how you're structured.

Ed Allinson: Sure. We have a dedicated team of three, three professionals, very senior. It's myself, Todd Jacobson, and we're both co-portfolio managers on the strategy. I think Todd has about 26 years' experience. I've been doing this 29 years. And Lovey Morse, who is our analyst — dedicated analyst on the strategy. And she's been — she has about 21 years of experience.

The way we break it down is, we all have sector responsibility. Lovey is our consumer analyst, which would be staples and consumer discretionary names. Todd focuses on the industrials and technology. And I look at energy financials and, kind of, business services.

So that's how the basic team — and the core of the team, which has day-to-day responsibility. But we're supported by a larger team of another 10 international analysts and portfolio managers.

Mike Weldon: So how do you and your team go about identifying opportunities?

Ed Allinson: Sure, I mean it's a multi-layered approach, because it's a very large universe of opportunities, which we love. And we are, as you might imagine, in the Lord Abbett tradition, bottom-up stock pickers. And so this is an excellent place to fish for those opportunities.

We start by trying to narrow down the universe. You know, our benchmark has a closing on 4,000 names in it. So what we do is, really, the first step is a liquidity screen, to find those companies that, you know, we can actually participate in.

The second step — we actually run multi-factor models, which are screens; not something to select the stocks but these are back-tested, multi-factor models. Factors such as P/E, price to book, dividend yield. And, as you might expect in the small cap universe, also, you know, kind of momentum. That tends to be a factor that has a little bit more effectiveness, you know, in our space.

And then finally, you know, after we’ve narrowed the field down a bit, we use one more layer to help us narrow it down. And that layer is really thematic. And those themes are really developed in a number of different ways. Some just through, you know, finding it through the screens and seeing that they look attractive, and digging a little bit deeper.

But we spend an enormous amount of time on the road. And here in the U.S. meeting with management. So either, you know, they visit us or we're on the road overseas. I was just in London at a financials conference two weeks ago. Todd was also in Europe, he was in Germany and Switzerland about a week ago. I know he's going out to Asia again in May. And Lovey just got back from Brazil.

So, you know, we're really busy and those interactions with managements give us a really good idea of some of the things that they're thinking about, areas that they're focusing on, secular trends that are driving them, and cyclical concerns that they have. There's been quite a bit of that over the last six years.

Mike Weldon: So you mentioned themes. What are some of the themes that we're seeing in the portfolio today?

Ed Allinson: Yes, there's a few and, you know, some are newer and some are a little longer. One of the themes we've had, and you know, we've, like everyone else, and I think we did it particularly effectively, reduced our exposure to financials.

But we wanted to see if there was an opportunity there in this, you know, chaos that was being developed in particularly European banks and financials. And what we found was — we searched really hard and we found two companies that, basically, profit from the deleveraging of the banks. They buy debt at pennies on the dollar. Say, 15 cents on the dollar. And their goal is to try and collect 20 cents on the dollar. And it's a very good business.

It's a business that, you would think, doesn't have barriers to entry. Who would pay the most for the debt? But that's just not true. These companies have a real strong barrier to entry in that the banks don’t want to sell debt to people who are going to go out and collect it in an unfriendly or in a bad publicity way for the banks.

So these are quality guys who do a very good job of helping them de-lever. And we've played that same theme in two companies, Intrum Justitia and now, Arrow Global. So that's one theme.

Another, more recent, theme — we've played that over multiple years. A more recent theme is CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) cycle in Japan. So there has not been one for a lot of years. And we're actually looking at the IT services space. We think there's a real CAPEX cycle starting up, one, the banks are starting to update their systems. And we've spent a lot of time talking to the senior management of the different banks on our travels. And we've really had that confirmation.

Mike Weldon: Okay, thanks very much, Ed.

Ed Allinson: You're welcome.

Mike Weldon: This has been Lord Abbett's Portfolio Commentary. Thanks for watching.

Narrator: For more information on this topic, or to access other videos, audio files, articles or commentary, please explore Lordabbett.com.

Risks to Consider: The value of investments in equity securities will fluctuate in response to general economic conditions and to changes in the prospects of particular companies and/or sectors in the economy. Investing in international securities generally poses greater risk than investing in domestic securities, including greater price fluctuations and higher transaction costs. Special risks are inherent to international investing, including those related to currency fluctuations and foreign, political, and economic events. These risks can be greater in the case of emerging country securities. Investments in small companies involve greater risks not associated with investing in more established companies, such as business risk, significant stock price fluctuations and illiquidity. Small cap companies may also have more limited product lines, markets, or financial resources and typically experience a higher risk of failure than large cap companies. No investing strategy can overcome all market volatility or guarantee future results.

The portfolio is actively managed and may change significantly over time.

There is no guarantee that the international small cap market will perform in a similar manner under similar conditions in the future.

All portfolio data mentioned in the video is as of March 31, 2013.

Years of experience noted in the video refers to years of industry experience.

The source for the benchmark which has approximately 4,000 names is the S&P Developed Ex-U.S. SmallCap Index as of April 30, 2014.

Glossary

P/E Ratio is a valuation ratio of a company's current share price compared to its per-share earnings.

Price-to-Book Ratio is a ratio used to compare a stock's market value to its book value. It is calculated by dividing the current closing price of the stock by the latest quarter's book value per share.

Backtesting is the process of testing a trading strategy on prior time periods. Instead of applying a strategy for the time period forward, which could take years, a trader can do a simulation of his or her trading strategy on relevant past data in order to gauge the its effectiveness.

Most technical-analysis strategies are tested with this approach.

Multi-Factor Model is a financial model that employs multiple factors in its computations to explain market phenomena and/or equilibrium asset prices. The multi-factor model can be used to explain either an individual security or a portfolio of securities. It will do this by comparing two or more factors to analyze relationships between variables and the security's resulting performance.

Dividend Yield is a financial ratio that shows how much a company pays out in dividends each year relative to its share price. In the absence of any capital gains, the dividend yield is the return on investment for a stock. Dividend yield is calculated as follows: Annual Dividends Per Share ÷ Price Per Share.

Capital Expenditure (CAPEX): Funds used by a company to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as property, industrial buildings or equipment. This type of outlay is made by companies to maintain or increase the scope of their operations. These expenditures can include everything from repairing a roof to building a brand new factory.

The S&P Developed Ex-U.S. SmallCap Index captures the bottom 15% of companies domiciled in the developed markets excluding the United States within the S&P Global BMI with a float-adjusted market capitalization of at least US$100 million and a value traded of at least US$50 million for the past 12-months at the time of the annual reconstitution. Stocks are excluded if their market capitalization falls below USD 75 million, or if the value traded is less than USD 35 million at the time of reconstitution.

This broadcast serves as reference material for information purposes only; does not constitute an offer to acquire, solicitation for an offer to acquire, an offer to sell or solicitation for an offer to buy, any securities, nor is intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice on any securities, and cannot be used for any of the foregoing.

The views and opinions expressed by the Lord Abbett speaker are those of the speaker as of the date of the broadcast, and do not necessarily represent the views of the firm as a whole. Any such views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions and Lord Abbett disclaims any responsibility to update such views. Neither Lord Abbett nor the Lord Abbett speaker can be responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.

The value of investments and any income from them is not guaranteed and may fall as well as rise, and an investor may not get back the amount originally invested. Please consult your investment professional for additional information concerning your specific situation.

This broadcast is the copyright © 2014 of Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC. All Rights Reserved. This recording may not be reproduced in whole or in part or any form without the permission of Lord Abbett. Lord Abbett mutual funds are distributed by Lord Abbett Distributor LLC.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY LORD ABBETT FUNDS, CONTACT YOUR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONAL OR LORD ABBETT DISTRIBUTOR LLC AT 888-522-2388, OR VISIT US AT WWW.LORDABBETT.COM FOR A PROSPECTUS WHICH CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT A FUND'S INVESTMENT GOALS, SALES CHARGES, EXPENSES AND RISKS THAT AN INVESTOR SHOULD CONSIDER AND READ CAREFULLY BEFORE INVESTING.

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