CREDIT Lyonnais picked up five awards in the Sunday Morning Post Fund Manager of the Year awards. It won both awards in the Best Small Group and Far East (including Japan) Equities categories, and was the best three-year performer in the Asian Single Countries category. The Best Small Group category evaluates the overall performance of fund management groups with five or fewer funds. Credit Lyonnais claims to be different from many other fund management companies in Hongkong, as it manages money predominantly in Southeast Asian markets. ''Our Pacific Growth Fund is the only fund which has any Japanese exposure,'' said Mr Henry Thornton, investment director of Credit Lyonnais International Asset Management (HK). ''Apart from that, all our funds are in Southeast Asia.'' In 1992, it was more underweight in Japan than many other funds, having virtually no money in the country. Elsewhere in its regional funds, Credit Lyonnais has been underweight in Hongkong, relative to the competition, since the middle of last year. ''We were very keen on Thailand, which has proved a good market. We have heavily invested in Malaysia as opposed to Singapore,'' said Mr Thornton. The Malaysian market was up 20 per cent, while the Singapore market was up about one per cent. ''We had quite a large position in Indonesia early in 1992. That proved very helpful early on, but wasn't quite helpful in the second half,'' he said. Credit Lyonnais had also invested quite heavily in Pakistan over the last year. ''The market in Pakistan was down nearly 30 per cent or so. And our Pakistan Fund was down 23.6 per cent,'' Mr Thornton said. However, the group made some gains in China B shares early in 1992 and managed to exit the market before it started to decline. Credit Lyonnais' Pacific Growth Fund won both awards in the Far East (including Japan) Equities, outperforming its rivals over a one-year and three-year period. The fund, which was established in Hongkong in June, 1988, was severely underweighted in Japan just prior to the Gulf War when the index was 33,000, said senior fund manager Ms Tammy Chow. Ms Chow, who joined Credit Lyonnais' international asset management team in Hongkong in June, 1988, said: ''I moved into Hongkong, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in 1992. ''Last year China B shares helped the fund as some of them increased threefold.'' The fund's China exposure at one point accounted for about 10 per cent of its portfolio and so the threefold increase obviously helped its overall performance. ''In Thailand I had almost 15 per cent at one stage - that is very aggressive for a regional fund,'' Ms Chow said. ''During the events of May last year, I was underweight in Thailand, below eight per cent, and after the army crackdown increased it to 15 per cent and benefitted from the subsequent rally.'' The winning point for the fund last year was that it did not lose any money to start with, even when Ms Chow put into Indonesia and Malaysia. ''All my fund managers helped me because they are all good stock selectors. It all boils down to stock selections,'' Ms Chow said. ''This year Hongkong is difficult, but I still maintain a 30 per cent weighting in Hongkong because there is nowhere else to go to. I'm very hesitant to go back into Australia. ''If you look at the region, Japan is still down - I am not going back into Japan in 1993. ''Australia for the time being I'd underweigh because it is sensitive to the slowdown in the European Community and Japan. ''I would rather put my money into US recovery-related countries. Hongkong is obviously one of these, along with China.'' Hongkong, being linked to China, despite the political worries had strong economic fundamentals, Ms Chow said. In the Asian Single Countries Funds category, Credit Lyonnais' Singapore Growth Fund took the three-year award. The fund invests in Malaysia as well as Singapore. Mr Colin Lee Yung-shih, the manager of the fund, said: ''The Malaysian economy has done extremely well in recent years, and that has been our area of focus.'' Mr Lee has been managing the fund, which was launched in 1969, since January, 1991. The fund, which has US$25 million invested in it, has benefitted from the recovery of the Malaysian economy after the recession of 1982 to 1987. ''Part of the fund's high performance can be attributed to its investment in smaller companies which typically display a higher earnings growth rate,'' Mr Lee said. ''Last year we had minimal weighting in Singapore, taking the view that between the two countries, economic fundamentals in Malaysia were stronger.'' ''In 1992, there was a record number of 45 new companies listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, affording the fund new investment opportunities,'' he said. ''In Singapore, we focused on companies with regional growth prospects as opposed to defensive domestic-orientated companies.''