logo
  • 07/05/2016

Show me the money: Brenner’s tasteful multi-asset recipe for yields


Many Hands Make Light Work on All Available Investment Resources

By Tim Gibbens

The breadth of Schroders’ investment skills has been recognized numerous times this year, with a Best-in-Class in the House Awards for Asia Allocation and a Best in Class in the Retail Top 100 Asia Allocation Category for the Schroder Asian Asset Income Fund. The team also picked up a Best-in-Class in the House Awards for Multi-Asset Income.

Delighted with this success, Patrick Brenner, Head of Multi-Asset Investments, Asia pointed out that success of the company’s multi-asset income strategies is derived from the structured investment approach he and his team follow. “We always start by focusing on active asset allocation, because a static method is not suitable for investors looking for a stable income – asset classes exhibit different characteristics at various stages of the market cycles. Therefore, a dynamic allocation between the different asset classes allows us to capture opportunities.”

He continued: “We also take a benchmark unconstrained stance, allowing the maximum capture of any yield opportunities. This also allows a focus on securities which are both high quality and offer sustainable income: each security in the portfolio must either deliver an attractive income or provide diversification/risk management benefits.” Brenner noted the team’s active approach to risk management also reduces volatility and aims to deliver a strong risk-adjusted return/yield for investors.

Real Teamwork

Schroders’ multi-asset team harnesses all available investment resources, with input from the equity and fixed income desks. “This leverages almost all of Schroders’ 400 fund managers and analysts around the world,” noted Brenner.

The team is responsible for active asset allocation and risk management of the strategy and is, according to Brenner: “One of the best resourced in the industry, with over 80 professionals globally. There are professionals located in the major financial locations across the globe including London, New York, Zurich, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.”

The two main equity teams involved are the quantitative equity product (QEP) team and the Asian equity team, which managed the global equities portfolio and the Asia and China equities portfolios, respectively. The 24-strong QEP investment team is a fundamental component of Schroders’ specialist equity capabilities and has representatives in London, Sydney, New York and Hong Kong. The Asia equity team, in particular, has been managing assets for over 25 years. On the fixed income side, the global credit and emerging market teams are responsible for security selection in the global multi-asset income portfolios. Brenner stated: “The global credit team consists of 16 credit portfolio managers and 39 credit analysts, with an average industry experience of 16 years. Meanwhile, the emerging market fixed income team consists of three fund managers with an average of 22 years’ investment experience.”

Business Quality

Stock selection for the Global Multi-Asset strategy is grounded in the analysis of company fundamentals indicating value and business quality. The team then targets companies with clearly dependable, rising dividends; it also reduces stock-specific risk by building a highly-diversified portfolio but with no less conviction.

According to Brenner, the investment process itself has two key components: “We take a global universe of over 15,000 stocks, which is analyzed daily and look for stocks with high and sustainable yields. Furthermore, we find companies which demonstrate the potential to grow dividends over time through improving fundamentals.” Brenner continued: “For those companies with relevant dividend characteristics, the ideal individual position size is determined by focusing on company quality and value. Business quality is captured through an assessment of profitability, stability and financial strength. In assessing value, we look at a range of metrics based on earnings, cash flow and assets, in addition to dividend yields.”

Sustainable Value

He believes that analysis and evaluation of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues and their impact on investments is a fundamental part of the stock valuation and selection process. “We evaluate each company’s ability to create long-term, sustainable value and may question companies about any concerning ESG issues.”

Unconstrained Asian Investing

With the Asian Asset Income Fund, Schroders looks to provide investors with a regular income and generate capital growth over the medium to longer term. It is designed to be unconstrained and so can take advantage of any Asian yield opportunities. The Asian equity teams’ focus is therefore on investing in quality securities with a high yield and limiting the risk from speculative investments – the team actively avoids (or sells) companies where it believes dividends could be in danger, as indicated by an inconsistent pay-out history, declining profitability, or rising leverage.

“We achieve the Fund’s investment objective through active allocation, primarily between directly held Asian equity securities and fixed income investments that offer attractive yields, backed by strong fundamentals. If necessary, we will raise cash during adverse market conditions,” explained Brenner.

Conviction Investing

The team focuses on stocks that are: “Able to create real shareholder value, have a robust and stable earnings stream and have a high, sustainable dividend yield,” according to Brenner. “Our investment process has remained primarily bottom-up, though the team routinely review their outlook for each country to help inform their conviction in their holdings,” he continued.

In the Asian fixed income portfolio, the team selects securities that deliver attractive yield and capital growth, considering both fundamental and technical views such as valuation, demand/supply conditions and liquidity. At the portfolio level, the multi-asset team is responsible for risk management and for allocating dynamically between equities, fixed income and cash.

Throughout this process, a high emphasis is placed on the Fund’s sustainability of income regarding security selection. There is also a strong focus on quality to deliver a relatively attractive level of yield, at a reasonable price.

Demand for Income

According to Brenner, the long-term neutral asset allocation of the Fund is 50% in equities and 50% in fixed income and cash. However, the team has recently maintained a preference for equities over fixed income; that said, during more volatile periods, the equity exposure has occasionally been hedged by using put options on various market indices.

Given markets are likely to remain volatile in 2017, Brenner believes that a multi-asset income strategy, with a strong emphasis on risk management, will continue to be relevant for investors. BM

SHARE

以最佳概念為標準

Tim Gibbens 撰文

標準人壽投資的投資團隊往往會分享各自最佳的投資概念,其團隊文化獲得2016《指標》年度基金大獎的一眾評委欣賞;其中,標準人壽投資贏得最佳表現基金大獎(零售及專業投資組別)-歐洲小型股票類別、傑出表現獎(零售投資組別),以及同級最佳(專業投資組別)的多項殊榮。

標準人壽投資歐洲小型公司基金的基金經理Andrew Paisley說:「我們團隊的投資風格看重質素、增長及走勢,因此我不會界定我們為價值投資者。小型公司的走勢一直良好,並可以持續多年 。」

他補充:「我們物色可持續發展而且有多年期增長的投資概念,而非短期重組類型 。再者,我們的投資方式絕對為『由下而上』,著重於40至50隻最佳概念的股票。一般而言,持倉會為3至5年,所以2016年基金轉倉率僅為19% 。」

引用獨有投資模型

據Paisley解釋,投資的三大過程是:創立投資概念(發掘與市場共識有別的概念),通過與公司進行一連串會面來考證意見,以及最終制訂投資組合。他說:「在創立投資概念方面,我們利用於1997年自家建立的量化工具模型,首先篩選出1000間歐洲小型公司,並以涵蓋四大股票組別(走勢/價值/增長/質量)的13個不同因素,選出約250間公司。」

藉着與公司管理層會面,概念的考證更有效益。如Paisley所述:「親臨公司總部視察,並與各級別管理層會面及觀察各公司的環境,可讓我們考查公司的實力。」團隊因模型所得結果而決定進行投資的其中一間公司為Fever-Tree,該公司是優質混合飲料的小眾生產商,並有很強的盈利走勢。

了解每間公司

「除會面外,團隊會詳細查核公司的報告及賬目。評估內容包括會計政策及業務現金流的質素。基金減持金融股已有一段時間,因為要找到此行業內具質素兼賬目具足夠透明度的公司實在是不容易。」

目前,基金持有48隻股票。投資經理不會投資於市值低於2億歐元或高於40億歐元的公司。值得一提的是,基金在市值低於10億歐元的公司的持股較多,原因是:「賣方分析師對這些公司的分析範疇較不完善,其股份被錯誤估值的機會因而較大。」

減低風險

投資經理選擇把基金要承受的風險盡可能集中在股票層面上,而非其他風險程度可能廣泛的因素。任何持股不得超出基金的5%以上,團隊會將任何超出此限制的持股出售。團隊的賣股紀律亦見嚴謹, 下列一種或以上的原因都會觸發賣股:a)投資方案發展已到尾聲;b)看漲的股票表現不如預期;c)基金持股數目升至50隻股票以上。

在遵守環境、社會及管治(ESG)因素方面,標準人壽投資擁有業內最頂尖的團隊之一,團隊定期就任何關切的議題與有關公司聯繫。Paisley評說:「已發展的歐洲國家具有高水平的企業管治,然而小型公司偏向較具創業性質,因此良好的董事會架構尤其重要。」

Paisley總結:「歐洲經濟環境相對利好,小型股理應表現良好。量化寬鬆措的成效無可置疑,它提高投資者的風險承受水平,以及對歐洲小型股的興趣。不過,若干歐洲國家會在年內陸續舉行大選,選舉結果或會帶來一些市場波動。」

全方位基金管理

標準人壽投資環球通脹掛鈎債券基金的聯席投資經理Adam Skerry與Katy Forbes利用全方位投資法,投資於通脹掛鈎債券。他們投資於多個市場,並利用一系列工具產生優於基準的回報。此外,他們合理地彈性遵從基準,讓投資經理可自由分配資金作有利投資。

Forbes闡明:「投資環球基金為各投資者帶來更多樣化和波動較少的投資選擇 。環球通脹掛鈎指數的平均年期為13年,相較而言,英國通脹掛鈎指數基於長期發行量增加, 目前平均年期超過20年。」

有別於同業,標準人壽投資建立了專責的通脹掛鈎團隊,由四位專才共同管理基金。基於此原因,Forbes認為:「基金有強勁的長期表現往績紀錄,對於投資者而言,基金波動較低亦是極具吸引力的。」

吸引市場注視

因通脹主題重現,基金現正吸引不同類型的投資者。Skerry解釋:「基金作為存續期產品,相對股票產品而言提供了對抗通脹的額外優勢。我們已持有大量小盤股以創造優於基準的回報,當中包括多種偏離指標的倉盤。因此,基金偏向會長期表現穩定。」

增值空間

Skerry指,基金現時持有130隻債券,與不能超過單一發行的限制尚有一大段距離。不過隨着更多國家加盟指標行列及發行量變多 ─ 特別是較長期的債券,基金的持有債券的數量亦有所增加。基金回報以三個月的外匯滾動展期套期保值,與基金的計價貨幣美元對沖。此外,投資經理亦積極觀望貨幣(透過利率市場),以求為基金進一步締造優於基準的回報。

來年展望

展望2017年,投資經理們相信, 央行在預期內仍會維持寬鬆貨幣政策。強健的全球經濟環境亦會令環球通脹逐步升溫,尤其是唐納・特朗普(Donald Trump)的保護主義政策很可能會為美國帶來更高通脹。

Skerry總結:「我們的團隊絕對有充足的資源,留意其他市場的投資契機。」Skerry 與Forbes憑豐富經驗在抗通脹大環境下作有利投資,標準人壽投資可望繼續為投資者帶來穩健回報。 BM

分享



SOCIAL MEDIA