The £18.3m Aviva Investors Global Emerging Markets Equity Unconstrained fund has shifted exposure towards North Asia and away from Latin America, which had been a drag on performance in the early part of the coronavirus crisis.
Alistair Way, head of emerging market equities at Aviva Investors, said the shift reflected a wider change in the geographical composition of emerging markets over the years, as Latin America and EMEA have "become more of the periphery than the core of emerging markets".
The fund, which was launched at the end of July 2019, had a 2% overweight to Brazil going into the coronavirus crisis earlier this year, which was "harmful" to performance.
"Performance in the first leg of coronavirus was quite disappointing in terms of the drawdown against the index. It certainly felt like some of our positions, like a moderate overweight in Brazil and Indonesia, were quite harmful for performance," he explained.
"We were overweight Brazil because we found a number of stocks that we loved."
Brazil is now a slightly less than neutral position in the portfolio, according to Way, while Korea is a "decent overweight" at 4% to 5%.
As the coronavirus crisis unfolded, Way said the team tried to form a judgment about which countries were "astute enough to try to deal with the crisis at an early stage", and identified Korea and Taiwan as having taken immediate action to control and monitor the spread of the pandemic.
"We really struggled during the sell down with some of our small-cap holdings because, as is often the case in a crisis, there was heavy technical selling of small caps," Way added.
But he said they took the opportunity to add to some of the fund's small-cap holdings in Korea, particularly those exposed to the electric vehicle supply chain, including LG Chem and EcoPro BM.
"Increasingly, emerging markets is a North Asian phenomenon, or Asian at the very least," he noted.
Regarding the US-China trade tensions, Way said there has been "lots of posturing moving up to the US elections" and said that most noticeable has been the change in attitude to US-listed Chinese companies.
"In response, we bought shares in the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEX) because we think the obvious beneficiary of this will be a shift back in liquidity towards Asia," he added, noting that HKEX was added to the fund in May.
With Huawei having been "severely curtailed" by US controls placed on it, the fund has been reducing its exposure to direct suppliers to Huawei and increasing exposure to Korean technology.
Way said Samsung Electronics, added to the fund at the end of July, "is going to be a massive beneficiary" and is now 4.9% of the fund.
According to data from FE fundinfo, the fund has returned 7.5% in the year to 8 September 2020, against the IA Global Emerging Markets sector average of 0.7% and ahead of the MSCI Emerging Markets benchmark return of 4.4%.