Discretionary Portfolio Service
Investment strategies devised in line with your objectives and to maximise market opportunities.
Third Quarter 2016
Fund returns were positive across most asset classes over the third quarter, with a modest drag from UK commercial property, though the latter has now recovered much of its post-Brexit losses.
Both bond and equity markets generally had positive returns for the quarter as Brexit fears eased amid healthy UK business activity, consumer demand and job growth. Markets were also buoyed by central bank stimulus – with, for example, the Bank of England cutting interest rates to a new record low of 0.25% and renewing its bond-buying programme.
Both bond and equity markets generally had positive returns for the quarter as Brexit fears eased amid healthy UK business activity, consumer demand and job growth.
While we have further reduced our overweight position in equities during the review period, a continued modest pro-equity stance and international exposure helped fund returns as all major developed markets reached new highs for the year and some hit new record highs.
Continued positive performance from corporate bonds, which we prefer to expensive and low- yielding government bonds, also helped portfolio returns. The latter, where we have a relatively low weighting, suffered a modest setback over the third quarter.
While overall equity positioning was positive, an underweight stance in US equities held back returns slightly as US shares reached new record highs. Our overweight stances in Europe and Japan also caused some drag as these regions lagged other major markets over the quarter.
|Portfolio returns, after fees||Defensive||Balanced||Growth|
|Rolling 12 Months:|
|End Sep 15 to end Sep 16||9.29%||12.39%||16.58%|
|End Sep 14 to end Sep 15||1.04%||-0.93%||-2.99%|
|End Sep 13 to end Sep 14||-||-||-|
|End Sep 12 to end Sep 13||-||-||-|
|End Sep 11 to end Sep 12||-||-||-|
|Blank cells represent periods prior to the Strategies launch|
|Source: Coutts/Thomson Datastream|
Past performance should not be taken as a guide to future performance.
The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up, and you may not recover the amount of your original investment.
Individual portfolio returns may vary.
Coutts Global 30 Portfolio
This portfolio comprises the 30 global stocks where Coutts has the highest conviction, providing regional diversity that has been beneficial during the recent period of sterling weakness. Our team selects companies that best reflect the tactical and strategic opportunities they have identified, in line with our core investment principles of quality and value.
Starting with an investment universe of 1,200 stocks from the S&P 500, FTSE 350 and Europe’s Stoxx 600 indices, this list is then filtered down using a number of parameters including liquidity (how easily shares can be bought and sold), the outlook for profit growth and sustainability of cash flows).
We then conduct a qualitative ‘bottom-up’ analysis based on company fundamentals to identify a final short list before selecting the 30 we believe reflect the most promising companies in our favoured themes.
Algebris Financial Credit
Algebris is a boutique investment manager specialising in the financial sector. This fund invests across the capital structure of global financial credit, specialising in hybrid fixed-income securities, such as so-called contingent convertible bonds (which convert to equity when triggered by a specified event), of systematically important financial institutions.
The investment team’s analysis across both credit and equity markets offers a comprehensive understanding of the factors governing hybrid securities. The fund has a successful track record and has outperformed its annual return target of 6% to 8% since inception.
PIMCO Global Investment Grade Credit Fund
Throughout 2016 we have preferred corporate debt over government bonds. That is because we see little risk of any significant rise in corporate default rates and believe the additional yield over government bonds more than compensates investors for the added risk. We also see this asset class being supported by the ongoing hunt for attractive sources of income.
We have expressed our view through the PIMCO Global Investment Grade Credit Fund. The managers invest at least two-thirds of their assets in high-quality global investment grade credit using a diversified, risk-controlled and value-based strategy. We believe this approach provides a diversification benefit, yield premium and greater total return potential compared with government debt.
BMO Equity Market Neutral Fund
The BMO Equity Market Neutral Fund seeks to generate a positive return through most market conditions. Its strategy involves investing in stocks that demonstrate one or more of five styles – low valuations, price momentum, company size, low volatility, and earnings growth at a reasonable price. The philosophy underpinning this approach is that a substantial amount of investment performance can be explained by these styles.
The manager minimises stock-specific risk by taking both long (positive) and short (negative) positions. As a result, we classify the strategy as an alternative asset, which we use to add diversified sources of returns to portfolios that are uncorrelated with price movements in riskier assets, such as equities. We also selected this fund because it has relatively low fees and a transparent investment process that is easy to understand.
For a full breakdown of all the underlying funds within the portfolios, please refer to our monthly factsheets, available on request.
Following the strong post-Brexit rally and as many equity markets reached new highs for the year, we further trimmed our positioning during the review period to only a slight overweight stance. We believed post-Brexit gains were largely the result of statements and actions by the Bank of England and European Central Bank to restore confidence, and made our decision to trim equities after we felt the market had reached a level that reflected these central bank actions.
We retained the proceeds in cash, other than in growth portfolios where we used the proceeds to add a position in the BMO Global Equity Market Neutral Fund. The fund seeks to generate a positive return in most market environments, providing some diversification benefit as returns tend to move independently of equity markets (with the potential, for example, to post a positive return while equities are falling although negative returns can also occur).
In August we reduced our allocation to the shares of global banks following a period of strong performance for the sector, boosted by sterling weakness. For Defensive portfolios, which do not hold the bank-equity theme, we reduced our allocation to local-currency denominated emerging-market debt. Across all portfolios, we used the proceeds to increase exposure to bonds issued by financial institutions, which we see as having attractive yields that are backed up by robust capital structures.
We also took some profits in local-currency emerging market debt in growth portfolios, using the proceeds to increase exposure to investment-grade (higher quality) corporate bonds, slightly reducing overall risk in portfolios.
Summary of moves
- Reduced equity to slight overweight
- Added BMO Global Equity Market Neutral Fund
- Reduced financial shares
- Increased financial bonds
- Reduced emerging market debt (in local currencies)
- Increased global investment grade bonds
(Please note: not all moves will be relevant for all portfolios)
The value of investments and any income from them can go down as well as up, and you may not recover the amount of your original investment. Where an investment involves exposure to a foreign currency, changes in rates of exchange may cause the value of the investment, and the income from it, to go up or down.
In the case of some investments, they may be illiquid and there may be no recognised market for them and it may therefore be difficult for you to deal in them or obtain reliable information about their value or the extent of the risks to which they are exposed.
Investments in emerging markets are subject to certain special risks, which include, for example, a certain degree of political instability, relatively unpredictable financial market trends and economic growth patterns, a financial market that is still in the development stage and a weak economy.
Wealth division of NatWest Group.
Coutts & Co. Registered in England No. 36695. Registered office 440 Strand, London WC2R 0QS. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority
The information in this webpage is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities or any other investment or banking product, nor does it constitute a personal recommendation. The information is believed to be correct but cannot be guaranteed.
Any opinion or forecast constitutes our judgement as at the date of issue and is subject to change without notice. Any Coutts company, or a connected company, its clients and officers may have a position or engage in transactions in any of the securities mentioned.
The analysis contained in this webpage has been procured, and may have been acted upon, by Coutts & Co and connected companies for their own purposes, and the results are being made available to you on this understanding. To the extent permitted by law and without being inconsistent with any applicable regulation, neither Coutts & Co nor any connected company accepts responsibility for any direct or indirect or consequential loss suffered by you or any other person as a result of your acting, or deciding not to act, in reliance upon such analysis.
Not all products and services offered by the individual Coutts companies are available in all jurisdictions, and some products and services may be available only through particular Coutts companies.
None of the overseas Coutts companies or offices is an Authorised Person subject to the rules and regulations made under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 for the protection of investors and depositors, and compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will not be available in respect of business transacted with them.
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