Allianz Technology Trust (LSE:ATT)
The Trust’s objective is to achieve long-term capital growth by investing principally in the equity securities of quoted technology companies on a worldwide basis.
The award-winning Allianz Technology Trust PLC offers investors access to the fast moving world of technology with the reassurance that investment decisions are made by Walter Price who has 40 years of experience of investing in technology. He is Co-Head of the AllianzGI Global Technology Team which currently manages $4bn in assets under management.
Disclaimer: A ranking, a rating or an award provides no indicator of future performance and is not constant over time.
Fund Manager's Review
The Allianz Technology Trust’s NAV returned 5.4% in December, outperforming the Dow Jones World Technology Index return of 2.9%. During the month, stock selection contributed, and industry allocation detracted from relative performance. For the full year period, the Trust’s NAV returned 76.1%, significantly outperforming the benchmark return of 41.7%.
Our position in security software vendor CrowdStrike was the top relative contributor during the period. The company delivered strong quarterly results as revenue and billings growth accelerated, an impressive feat given that the company is approaching a $1 billion revenue run rate. Margins continue to improve, while annual recurring revenue (ARR) growth also exceeded expectations, up about 81% year-on-year. The company added 1,186 net new customers in the quarter, surpassing some estimates by over 500. The robust growth demonstrates that the company is benefiting from tailwinds generated by an acceleration in digital transformation and a shift in workforces moving to a work-fromhome model as organisations of all sizes prioritise security platform adoption. Traditional perimeter-based security architectures have become far less effective as more organisations adopt cloud-based applications. CrowdStrike remains well-positioned to benefit from multiple tailwinds.
Our position in cloud security company Zscaler was also a top relative contributor during the period. The company delivered another robust quarter posting billings growth of 64%, blowing away consensus expectations, and demonstrating the underlying cloud deal momentum the company is seeing. Management yet again raised guidance as deal flow and pipeline activity are changing. With strong execution and massive cloud tailwinds, which have been accelerated in this COVID-19 environment, Zscaler is helping to drive transformative trends in cyber security for enterprises across the board. Zscaler is a first mover in cloud security that has essentially created a new market in the cyber security world with an innovative product umbrella and strategic focus, which should disrupt the competitive landscape for years to come. We believe the company continues to benefit from multiple tailwinds. We believe the cloud journey is still in the early innings, and Zscaler remains wellpositioned to significantly expand its addressable market. Other top active contributors included overweight positions in Tesla and MongoDB and an underweight position in Alibaba.
Our underweight position in Apple, one of the largest holdings in the benchmark, was the top detractor from relative performance. In this challenging environment, the company continues to execute and deliver solid profitability and strong free cash flow. In part, Apple is benefitting from the work-from-home trend as reflected in strength in their PC and tablet product categories. iPhone demand has benefitted from the second-generation of the lower-end iPhone, the iPhone SE, with a starting price of $399. The lower price point creates strong growth opportunities in emerging markets like India and China, which could significantly increase the installed base of users and drive demand for wearables/accessories and services. Positive drivers for Apple include the reopening of the economy as well as the ongoing roll out of the new 5G iPhone, which is expected to be one of the biggest product cycles in the company’s history. Apple remains one of the top positions in the portfolio but continues to be significantly underweight relative to the benchmark’s large position.
Our position in Zoom Video was also a top relative detractor during the period. The company reported strong quarterly financial results driven by revenue growth of 367% year-on-year, but shares fell as the results failed to meet heightened investor expectations. Analysts were concerned by decreasing margins pressured by free usage as well as expectations that the COVID-19 vaccine will soon allow more in-person meetings. During the pandemic, tens of millions of new customers have flocked to the platform with employees attending meetings while working from home, students engaging in remote learning setups, and individuals maintaining contact with their personal networks. While Zoom is a clear beneficiary from remote worker and social distancing trends, we reduced our position during the period given the increasingly uncertain outlook. Other top active detractors included overweight positions in Snowflake, STMicroelectronics, and Pinterest.
In our view, the technology sector continues to benefit from strong tailwinds which should continue to drive attractive long-term appreciation. There is no question in our minds that the present events around the COVID-19 crisis will spur the use of technology and change how we live and work in the future. As companies adjust budgets due to supply and/ or demand disruptions, the need for companies to reduce costs should accelerate the move to cheaper and more productive solutions such as cloud, software-as-a-service, artificial intelligence, cyber security, etc. We are in a period of rapid change, where the importance of technology is key to the prosperity of most industries. This environment is likely to provide attractive growth opportunities in many technology stocks over the next several years. We continue to believe the technology sector can provide some of the best absolute and relative return opportunities in the equity markets – especially for bottom-up stock pickers.
18 January 2021
Walter Price, CFA
Allianz Technology Trust PLC is managed by Walter Price who is a Managing Director and Co-Head of the AllianzGI Technology Team in San Francisco, having joined in 1974. Walter is a current Director and past president of the M.I.T. Club of Northern California. He also heads the Educational Council for M.I.T. in the Bay Area and is a past Chairman of the AIMR Committee on Corporate Reporting for the computer and electronics industries.
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All data source Allianz Global Investors as at 31.01.20 unless otherwise stated.
This is a marketing communication issued by Allianz Global Investors GmbH, an investment company with limited liability, incorporated in Germany, with its registered office at Bockenheimer Landstrasse 42‑44, D‑60323 Frankfurt/M, registered with the local court Frankfurt/M under HRB 9340, authorised by Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (www.bafin.de). Allianz Global Investors GmbH has established a branch in the United Kingdom, Allianz Global Investors GmbH, UK branch, which is subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (www.fca.org.uk). This communication has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to ensure the impartiality of investment (strategy) recommendations and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing before publication of such recommendations. This is no recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any particular security. Any security mentioned above will not necessarily be comprised in the portfolio by the time this document is disclosed or at any other subsequent date.