Our starting point is to identify and understand the key drivers of the economies and markets around the world. Our active management includes strategic and tactical asset allocation and by adopting a flexible approach we seek to deliver real returns across all investment strategies.
Our investment philosophy is based on four main principles:
Research indicates that achieving the correct asset allocation is the most important factor in generating long-term returns, and that diversification is the best way to achieve risk-adjusted target returns. The ‘heat map’ shown below illustrates the variation in return of the primary asset classes over the last ten years and the corresponding challenge in identifying which will be the top performing asset classes in the coming year.
Our role as investment managers is to constantly determine the appropriate blend of asset classes for a given portfolio. This is termed a ‘multi-asset class’ approach, based on the rationale that in most market conditions at least some components of a portfolio should be delivering positive returns. However, it should be noted that in extreme market conditions, especially when market liquidity is low, some asset classes can display high levels of correlation.
Selecting the right fund across asset classes can mean the difference between average and good performance. We constantly research, monitor and review investment funds to identify consistent performers and only select funds which meet our stringent investment criteria. Our analysis encompasses both quantitative and qualitative techniques using a range of analytical tools as well as face to face meetings with investment managers. We identify managers with a clear investment process and evidence of how this has translated into performance. We pay close attention to whether investment decisions adopt a team-based approach or are dependent upon the skills of one investment manager.
We only choose investments that can be bought and sold easily. Furthermore, if we cannot properly analyse or research an investment fund we will avoid it.
We seek to add value through our tactical asset allocation and our investment fund selection. This means altering the blend of asset classes in different market conditions and then expressing this through our investment fund selection. This process ensures that we do not alter our portfolios’ long-term risk and return profile, but simply seek to enhance returns as well as reduce any possible losses by making active changes.
Our portfolios are rebalanced approximately four times each year, although interim rebalances are made should we decided to adopt tactical asset allocation changes or add or withdraw any of the underlying collective investment funds.