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  • 07/05/2016

Cruising your way to retirement. Funds are better managed under the Sun.


A Well-Balanced Approach Deliver a Win-Win Situation

By Edward Leung, Edited by Paul Lees

While every working person in Hong Kong is obliged to contribute a certain percentage of their income to the HK Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF), they may not be fully versed in the workings of financial markets. In its desire to close this knowledge gap, Sun Life Hong Kong has delivered a combination of easy-to-understand investment strategies that are backed up by industry-leading customer service. This dedication to excellence is reflected in the company’s winning streak at this year’s BENCHMARK Fund of the Year Awards, with a total of eight MPF fund prizes, two of which are for Hong Kong equities and six are in the Mixed-Asset category.

Furthermore, the company’s customer service proved so impressive that jurors have given Sun Life Hong Kong Best-of-Class in Business Growth Award and Intermediary of the Year – Large Advisory >100 Seats category.

A Win-Win Situation

Belinda Luk, Sun Life Hong Kong’s Senior Vice President, Pension and Group Business, sums up Sun Life Hong Kong’s award-winning client service: “Integrity and professionalism result in a win-win situation for our clients.” She added: “The MPF is a system that the workforce loves to hate, believing that it is detrimental to their interests. In reality, the MPF is an effective enabler that helps people save towards an ideal retirement.”

To achieve this win-win for its clients, Sun Life has invested in new mechanisms to help people make more informed choices. On the investment side, the company has launched the ‘Fund Cruiser’ to help MPF members adjust their investment allocation when approaching retirement. Moreover, to better assist both employers and employees, a portal called ‘MyMPFchoice.com’ provides an efficient dissemination of information.

Luk elaborated on the logic behind these moves: “Some people may not grasp the art of investment well. They tend to be more conservative when young, then become increasingly aggressive as they grow older. Therefore, we rolled out the ‘Fund Cruiser’ investment option, with an embedded auto-rebalancing mechanism that reallocates assets from 95% in equities before the age of 30, to around 30% once the client reaches 60 and beyond. The goal is to achieve a balanced fund with a bond-to-equity ratio of 3:7 by age 65. Even with excellent fund choices, we still need to offer market-leading client service to reach out and address our members’ needs.”

Other than its commitment to customer service, Sun Life Hong Kong also boasts a strong intermediary team to help educate clients on the importance of their MPF. Luk explained: “Hong Kong employers and employees still do not realize the significance of a well-managed MPF portfolio. A robust intermediary team is key to helping them understand how MPF impacts their lives. So we believe in the value of having a well-trained intermediary team that helps clients with their understanding. In addition to their initial training, intermediaries are also regularly updated on topics relating to the MPF, such as sales conduct requirements, regulations and market insights, so they can confidently carry out their duties. We also liaise with the government, helping it to improve MPF system.”

From One to Many

Sun Life Hong Kong has also introduced fundamental changes to its MPF fund investment approach that are aimed at creating better value for clients. Stanley Ngan, CEO of Sun Life Asset Management, described one of these initiatives: “In May 2016, we restructured our MPF funds along the lines of a multi-manager approach, where a constituent fund now invests in a number of underlying funds managed by different managers. This method replaced the previous feeder-fund model where the performance of a constituent fund depended solely on a single manager.”

This is not an uncommon approach among institutional investors, Ngan explained that: “I have brought my fund management experience to the MPF business and aimed to deliver better value for our clients.” He elaborated: “According to an analysis on over 400 MPF funds for the period from 2011 to 2015, 79 MPF funds started in the top quartile, but by 2012 some of them had already fallen off the chart. By 2015, none of them could stay in the top quartile consecutively for five years. This example shows that each fund has a unique investment style, and its performance is affected by changes in market conditions. Sometimes, a fund under-performs not because it is poorly managed, but rather a reflection of unfavorable market conditions against its style.”

Ngan noted: “The multi-manager approach allows for more flexibility, which will indeed deliver better value over the long term. In the Hong Kong market, mixed-asset funds and equity funds remain at the top of investors’ lists. Among all four of Sun Life’s MPF funds that received commendations at the BENCHMARK Fund of the Year Awards 2016, one of them invests in Hong Kong equities, while the other three belong to the mixed-asset category. They have performed so well that they do not just make it to the top 25% quadrant, but are first in their respective classes since launch.”

Dollar Cost Averaging

Turning to market volatility, Ngan noted that: “MPF members should be aware of a concept called ‘Dollar Cost Averaging.’ The key to any regular saving scheme is not ‘timing,’ but ‘time.’ Over time, regular investment allows our clients to acquire more units in their target fund when share prices fall.”

Citing the example of the Sun Life MPF Hong Kong Equity Fund, one of the company’s flagship MPF offerings, Ngan added: “The Fund and the Hang Seng both declined sharply at the height of the global financial crisis. By making monthly contributions, our clients were able to take advantage of lower share prices. It was good investment strategy because prices then recovered.”

Looking ahead, Stanley favors equity over debt. He has a slight preference for US equities but prefers China and Hong Kong. On the other hand, he is mildly bearish about bonds, preferring credit over government debt as US rate hikes remain a possibility.” BM

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全天候基金

梁興仁 撰文 Paul Lees 主編

香港每位在職人士均須按入息的一定比例向「強制性公積金」(簡稱「強積金」)計劃供款;然而,未必人人都完全熟悉金融市場的運作。為彌補此知識空隙,永明金融推出了一系列易於理解的投資策略,配合業界首屈一指的客戶服務,助客戶運籌帷幄。永明金融追求卓越的精神,亦為公司帶來一連串殊榮,勇奪《指標》年度基金大獎共八項強積金基金獎項,其中兩項屬香港股票基金獎項、六項屬混合資產類別基金獎項。此外,永明金融的客戶服務十分出色,因此獲評審頒發「同級最佳 — 業務增長大獎」以及年度中介大獎中的「同級最佳獎 — 大型顧問公司(多於100位員工)」。

創造雙贏局面

總結永明金融客戶服務屢獲殊榮的心得,永明金融退休金及團體保險高級副總裁陸季嬋女士表示:「誠信及專業精神是雙贏的關鍵,客戶和公司都得益」,她補充說:「不少打工仔厭惡強積金制度,認為強積金計劃有損他們的利益。事實上,強積金有效幫助大家儲蓄,為理想退休生活做足準備。」

為幫助客戶實現雙贏,永明金融不斷投放資源在嶄新機制,助客戶作出更明智的選擇。在投資方面,公司推出「基金自動導航系統」,幫助強積金計劃成員在接近退休時調整投資配置。此外,為方便僱主和僱員,公司亦推出入門網站「MyMPFchoice.com」,有助大家更便捷地比較不同強積金基金的表現。

陸季嬋詳細闡述推出這些舉措背後的理由:「有些人可能不了解投資之道,他們往往在年輕時較為保守,然後年紀大了,卻變得越來越進取。有見及此,我們推出『基金自動導航系統』投資選項。此自動重新調節機制會在客戶30歲前將95%的資產投資於股票,而當客戶達到60歲後,股票投資比例將降至三成左右。目標是要確保基金的投資分佈均衡,到客戶65歲時,整體組合的債券/股票比率是3比7。即使有優秀的基金選擇,我們仍需要提供傲視市場的客戶服務來切合成員的需要。」

除了對客戶服務的承諾外,永明金融還擁有強大的中介團隊,幫助客戶了解強積金的重要性。陸季嬋解釋:「香港僱主和僱員仍未明白到管理完善的強積金組合有幾重要。充滿活力的中介團隊,對幫助客戶了解強積金對生活有何影響是十分關鍵。因此,我們認為,中介團隊必須訓練有素,能夠幫助客戶理解強積金。除初步培訓外,我們亦會舉辦定期培訓,讓中介得知強積金相關議題的新動向,例如銷售守則、條例和市場見解,讓他們可以在履行職責時更有自信。我們亦與政府保持聯繫,協助當局改善強積金制度。」

步向多元經理投資模式

永明金融亦已對其強積金基金投資模式作出徹底改變,旨在為客戶創造更佳價值。永明資產管理行政總裁顏建華介紹其中一項倡議:「2016年5月,我們以『多元經理』投資方法重新建構了強積金基金,當中成份基金投資在一些由不同基金經理管理的基礎基金。這種方法取代了以往的聯接基金(母子基金)模式。在聯接基金模式下,成份基金的表現完全依賴於單一經理。」

對機構投資者而言,此做法並非罕見。顏建華解釋:「我將自己的基金管理經驗帶到強積金業務,為客戶帶來更佳價值。」他進一步闡述:「根據一項在2011至2015年期間對超過400項強積金基金所進行的分析,當中79項強積金基金在開始時屬表現最佳四分之一,但到了2012年,其中一些基金的表現已跌出榜外。到了2015年,無一項基金能夠連續五年保持在最佳四分之一榜上。這個例子說明,每項基金都有其獨特的投資風格,其表現亦受市場環境變化影響。有時候,一項基金表現不佳並非由於管理不善,而是市場環境不利其投資風格。」

顏建華指出:「『多元經理』投資模式更為靈活,並能真正創造較佳的長期投資價值。在香港市場,混合資產基金和股票基金仍然是投資者的首選。在獲得2016《指標》年度基金獎嘉許的四項永明強積金基金之中,其中一項基金投資於香港股票,另外三項屬於混合資產基金。這些基金表現很好,不僅屬市場最佳四分之一,而且自推出以來均在同類基金中名列第一。」

採用平均成本法

談到市場波動,顏建華指出:「強積金成員應了解『平均成本法』這個概念。任何定期儲蓄計劃的關鍵並非『時機』而是『時間』。隨時間流逝,定期投資讓客戶可在股價下跌時購入更多單位的目標基金。」

顏建華以公司旗下的強積金基金之一「永明強積金香港股票基金」為例,補充指:「基金價格和恆指均在環球金融危機高峰時急跌。客戶透過每月供款,卻能把握低價買入的機會。這是一個很好的投資策略,因為股價之後已收復失地。」

展望未來,相對於債券,顏建華較偏好股票。他略微看好美國股票,但更喜愛中國和香港的股票。另一方面,他輕微看淡債券,相對於政府債券,他偏好信用債券,因為美國仍有可能加息多次。 BM

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