DESPITE volatile markets in Singapore in late 1994, Thornton Management's conservative investment strategy paid off in Asia. The company's Managed South East Asia Fund won top prize for Far East Equity Funds, excluding Japan, over 1994. The open-ended fund, launched in 1993, was the only one in Southeast Asia to record a positive gain in 1994 and posted an 8.8 per cent profit. Following last year's performance, Thornton Management also won a prize for its Philippines' New Tiger Selections Fund over three years. With Malaysia's KL Composite index down 1.7 per cent and Bangkok's SET down 17.6 per cent, the Managed South East Asia Special Select Fund's performance was outstanding, said Henry Yu Chun-fai, investment sales manager. The single-country fund had outperformed the Singapore Straits Times index, which recorded a limp 1.9 per cent growth last year,' he said. 'We are the Asian equity specialists and our excellent performance is reflected in awards our fund managers have won from Micropal over the last five years,' Mr Yu said. 'Devaluation of the Mexican peso, followed by a sharp drop in the Philippine Composite index in 1994, siphoned off profit-taking in the fund,' said John Lai Sung-ziang, Thornton's New Tiger Selections Philippines Sub Fund assistant fund manager. With 69 per cent holdings in industrials, the fund posted a negative 19.5 per cent growth for the year. However, investors had received the benefits of the fund's outstanding 196 per cent growth in 1993 coupled with a 56.4 per cent profit in 1992.