ANY fund portfolio drawn up by finance advisers may well include a G. T. mutual fund. However, G. T. Management (Asia), in common with the G. T. group worldwide, does not directly retail its mutual funds, which are some of the best known in the business. 'All our marketing effort goes on financial advisers themselves and the private bank networks,' said Peter Lord, managing director. 'We make sure our view as to asset allocation is communicated and learned by them. 'The major advisers - and we concentrate on the 20 that really produce the results - take their jobs seriously. They're not interested in just flogging units and taking front-end fees.' Mr Lord believed his 27-strong 'universe' of offshore funds would perform well this year, given that growth in the major Western economies had slowed sufficiently, inflation was under control and, while earnings were likely to disappoint, interest rates could well fall. A problem in Hong Kong was that investors tended to focus on the Asian markets, well known for their growth. 'They see what's on the doorstep; they feel comfortable taking a rise in Thailand or a political turnaround in Taiwan, whereas the idea of giving money to some gweilo fund management company, which is going to put it into a pool with other people's assets and run it out of New York or London, goes quite against the grain. 'Even our financial advisers are having to get around that,' Mr Lord said. Some of G. T.'s biggest-value funds were heavily orientated towards Asia, such as the Newly Industrialising Countries Fund, valued at about US$350 million (HK$2,695 million). Mr Lord said the retail buyer should be attracted by the stability of G. T. funds, which were anything but flashy. 'G. T. is not trying to run go-go high-octane funds with a view to attracting the man in the street with the flavour of the month,' he said. 'The funds we have are dominated by serious institutional holders. 'They get the same attention, same degree of seriousness, as our mainstream institutional accounts.' Mr Lord predicted that bonds and equities would do well in the peripheral European markets of Spain, Italy and Britain and that, in general, 'Europe is likely to do as well as anywhere, in part, because they're nearer the low point of the dip in their economic cycle than anywhere else. Earnings might be disappointing, but real yields are still high'. Looking back at this past year, he noted that the Scandinavian markets had 'done stunningly well', in part led by individual stocks performing almost freakishly well, like Finland's Nokia. 'I'm not sure we'll ride that one much further,' he said. He was proud to point out that G. T.'s was a lone voice in promoting the best-performing market of last year - America. 'At that time it was a strange statement but we were fortunately proved right. Hong Kong investors sadly put very little into US mutuals, which rose 34 per cent. It was a great sadness for us as our G. T. Technology Fund was up about 100 per cent.' He predicted further growth of between 12 and 16 per cent in the US this year.