It has been a challenging period for multi-asset investors with both equity and bond markets recording some of the worse starts to a year in decades. Global equity markets fell significantly over the quarter and domestically the ASX 300 index has fallen more than 10% since the start of the calendar year. However, what has been most damaging to balanced portfolios has been the significant losses experienced in the bond markets. Bond market indices are down 10%, as persistent and high inflation has seen bond yields rise sharply. The defensive part of many investor portfolios failed when it was needed most.

Deanne Baker explains how the Multi-Asset portfolios are positioned to best navigate through the current challenging environment.


The information in this video is prepared by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ABN 95 608 837 583 (LIS, we, us, our), a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR) No. 1236821 of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561, AFSL No. 421445 (Lonsec Research). Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this video is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision you must consider your financial circumstances or seek personal financial advice on its appropriateness. Read the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire a financial product.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this video, which is drawn from information not verified by LIS. This video may also contain third party material that is subject to copyright. To the extent that copyright subsists in a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

The information contained in this video is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. This video is not intended for use by a retail client or a member of the public and should not be used or relied upon by any other person. This video is not to be distributed without the consent of LIS. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this video or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it. Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd.

You may not reproduce, transmit, disseminate, sell or publish this video without our written consent.

We are currently in an environment we haven’t seen since the mid-1990s, of extremely high inflation and low growth, which has surprised many investors and has been damaging for those that have a low tolerance to risk, such as retirees. Despite negative returns, and while we haven’t been able to avoid the losses entirely, the Retirement portfolios have significantly outperformed the peer group benchmark, protecting retirees. The portfolio also delivered top quartile returns with less risk than the peer group over the 12 months to June 2022. In terms of total return, the portfolio remains comfortably above its Cash plus 2.4% objective over the 4-year recommended investment timeframe.

True to our investment philosophy and approach, having true diversification in the portfolios, being dynamic in how we positioned the portfolio this year, investing in high-quality strategies, and having a strong risk control, have paid off.


The information in this video is prepared by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ABN 95 608 837 583 (LIS, we, us, our), a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR) No. 1236821 of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561, AFSL No. 421445 (Lonsec Research). Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this video is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision you must consider your financial circumstances or seek personal financial advice on its appropriateness. Read the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire a financial product.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this video, which is drawn from information not verified by LIS. This video may also contain third party material that is subject to copyright. To the extent that copyright subsists in a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

The information contained in this video is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. This video is not intended for use by a retail client or a member of the public and should not be used or relied upon by any other person. This video is not to be distributed without the consent of LIS. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this video or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it. Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd.

You may not reproduce, transmit, disseminate, sell or publish this video without our written consent.

It has been a challenging period for multi-asset investors with both equity and bond markets recording some of the worse starts to a year in decades. Global equity markets fell significantly over the quarter and domestically the ASX 300 index has fallen more than 10% since the start of the calendar year.

ESG and sustainable portfolios in general have felt the pain more acutely given the wide dispersion seen in sector returns and the Lonsec Sustainable portfolios were no exception. The portfolios have had a difficult quarter, lagging the peer group benchmark by some margin. Over the quarter, Dynamic Asset Allocation added value in the Balanced risk profile which benefited most from our underweight position in Fixed Income. In the higher risk profiles, DAA was flat to slightly negative as our overweight position in real assets more than offset the gains made in Fixed Income.

Looking ahead, our Sustainable positions remain diversified in order to be resilient to further market volatility. We continue to monitor developments regarding inflation, monetary policy and the global economy and we will adjust our portfolios if necessary to navigate through the challenges ahead.


The information in this video is prepared by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ABN 95 608 837 583 (LIS, we, us, our), a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR) No. 1236821 of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561, AFSL No. 421445 (Lonsec Research). Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this video is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision you must consider your financial circumstances or seek personal financial advice on its appropriateness. Read the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire a financial product.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this video, which is drawn from information not verified by LIS. This video may also contain third party material that is subject to copyright. To the extent that copyright subsists in a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

The information contained in this video is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. This video is not intended for use by a retail client or a member of the public and should not be used or relied upon by any other person. This video is not to be distributed without the consent of LIS. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this video or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it. Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd.

You may not reproduce, transmit, disseminate, sell or publish this video without our written consent.

The heat has been on with central banks around the world trying to keep inflation under control. We have seen three consecutive rate rises by the RBA, the most numerous since 2010. We have observed similar monetary policy tightening action in other jurisdictions, notably the US where the last inflation read was 8.6%. Central banks are walking a tightrope as they try to manage inflation while at the same time trying to avoid a material economic slowdown.

One of the challenges is that many of the inflationary pressures we have observed have been driven by supply side issues caused by the pandemic and the subsequent pressure on supply chains. This has been coupled with the war in Ukraine which together have driven up the price of everything from building materials, food and energy costs.

There are some initial signs however that the heat may be coming off some of the areas that have been driving inflation. Globally, there is evidence weaker demand is coming through reflected in weaker PMI figures, opening up some spare capacity and allowing supply conditions to improve. Notably, indicators such as Global Manufacturing PMI supplier delivery times are showing signs of improvement, suggesting goods are beginning to move again and the S&P Global Supply Side Shortages Indicator is easing.

Other signs of the heat coming out of the economy are evident. The most visible and arguably high-profile, given many of us have exposure, is the housing sector. The Australian housing market is showing signs of softening with auction clearance rates at two-year lows according to CoreLogic data. Sydney has recorded the sharpest fall in house prices, falling by 1.6% in June. We have also seen a string of construction companies go into liquidation, the most recent being Langford Jones Homes in Victoria.

It is too early to assess whether rate rises are having their intended effect and whether central banks have the balance right between managing demand and keeping the economy growing. However, there are signs that demand is weakening and that supply chains are slowly working through the ‘covid’ backlog. If we see sustained evidence that inflation has peaked, and bond yields show signs of stability it is plausible that central banks will pause their tightening cycle and we may even see rates come back down next year. Until that time expect more bouts of market volatility as the market attempts to price in expectations on interest rates.

Considering this environment, we have sought to moderate any material asset allocation tilts and well as factor exposures within our suite of portfolios. We are likely to hold this position until we see sustained signs of inflation peaking and rate hiking cycle approach its climax. At that point we will reassess our portfolios positioning.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: This document is published by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583, a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR 1236821) (LIS) of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561 AFSL 421 445 (Lonsec Research).  LIS creates the model portfolios it distributes using the investment research provided by Lonsec Research but LIS has not had any involvement in the investment research process for Lonsec Research. LIS and Lonsec Research are owned by Lonsec Holdings Pty Ltd ACN 151 235 406. Please read the following before making any investment decision about any financial product mentioned in this document.

DISCLOSURE AT THE DATE OF PUBLICATION: Lonsec Research receives a fee from the relevant fund manager or product issuer(s) for researching financial products (using objective criteria) which may be referred to in this document. Lonsec Research may also receive a fee from the fund manager or product issuer(s) for subscribing to research content and other Lonsec Research services.  LIS receives a fee for providing the model portfolios to financial services organisations and professionals. LIS’ and Lonsec Research’s fees are not linked to the financial product rating(s) outcome or the inclusion of the financial product(s) in model portfolios. LIS and Lonsec Research and their representatives and/or their associates may hold any financial product(s) referred to in this document, but details of these holdings are not known to the Lonsec Research analyst(s).

WARNINGS: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this document is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision based on the rating or advice, the reader must consider whether it is personally appropriate in light of his or her financial circumstances or should seek independent financial advice on its appropriateness.  If the financial advice relates to the acquisition or possible acquisition of a particular financial product, the reader should obtain and consider the Investment Statement or the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire the financial product.

DISCLAIMER: No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this document, which is drawn from public information not verified by LIS. The information contained in this document is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this document or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it.

Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583 (LIS). This document may also contain third party supplied material that is subject to copyright.  The same restrictions that apply to LIS copyrighted material, apply to such third-party content.

Equity markets ended the financial year on a negative note in June, with the S&P/ASX 200 falling around 9% to finish the quarter down 12%. This drove the ASX 200 index as a whole down 6.5% for FY22. Global equities also fell significantly over the quarter, but Australian investors received some protection on unhedged investments from a 6 cent (8%) depreciation in the Australian Dollar. Rising inflation and subsequent rising interest rates were the main factors causing these negative returns.

Dan Moradi, Portfolio Manager for Listed Products, explains in detail what caused these negative returns and provides an update on the portfolios’ latest performance, positioning and outlook.


The information in this video is prepared by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ABN 95 608 837 583 (LIS, we, us, our), a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR) No. 1236821 of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561, AFSL No. 421445 (Lonsec Research). Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this video is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision you must consider your financial circumstances or seek personal financial advice on its appropriateness. Read the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire a financial product.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this video, which is drawn from information not verified by LIS. This video may also contain third party material that is subject to copyright. To the extent that copyright subsists in a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

The information contained in this video is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. This video is not intended for use by a retail client or a member of the public and should not be used or relied upon by any other person. This video is not to be distributed without the consent of LIS. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this video or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it. Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd.

You may not reproduce, transmit, disseminate, sell or publish this video without our written consent.

Market volatility has persisted as markets are continuously recalibrating to price in forward looking inflation and the subsequent impact on interest rates and economic growth. We believe that this market volatility will persist until there is evidence that inflation has peaked and bond yields have stabilised. Bond yields have been rising, with US 10 year treasuries trading above the 3% mark and Australian 10 year bond trading above 4% in mid-June 2022 and we expect yield volatility to continue of over the next six months.

With interest rates rising, there has been increased attention on the risk of recession. The risk of recession has increased as central banks tread the fine line between trying to curb inflation and trying not to strangle economic growth. To date, economic growth remains positive, but some of the cyclical indicators are softening, indicating that the global economy is slowing. The main issue for the central banks is that monetary policy is a very blunt tool and while raising rates will most certainly curb demand, it will do little to address the supply side issues global economies are facing as supply chains remain stressed by the pandemic. A good example is China where the hard stance on Covid lockdowns have essentially brought Chinese ports to a standstill. Additionally, the war in Ukraine has driven commodity prices up including crude oil and agricultural products such as wheat, fertilizer and canola oil. Ukraine and Russia combined contribute 12% of the world’s total calories and are key suppliers of grains to Africa and the middle east. Therefore, whether we head into a recession will be dependent on the two key factors of easing of supply chain issues and central banks not overplaying their cards by raising rates too high. At this stage, our base case for Australia is that we will avoid a recession and if we do go into recession, it will not be a deep recession.

However, it is not all bad news when it comes to recessions and markets. The relationship between market returns and economic growth is inconsistent, meaning that low economic growth does not always mean low market returns and vice versa. Historically, markets have tended to lead the economy which is what we are seeing now as markets seek to price in where interest rates will go to. We have already seen markets fall around 20% as they try to price in inflation and implications on economic growth. Markets have historically recovered strongly from recessionary environments and downmarkets have tended to be short and sharp, followed by a strong rebound.

Markets are likely to be choppy over the coming six months as they try to digest inflation and the magnitude of any future rate rises. For the Lonsec Managed Portfolios, it is time to hold the line and not make big directional plays. The easy money from active asset allocation has been made and our overweight to growth assets and underweight to fixed income has served us well over recent years. However given the change in environment, we believe a more neutral asset allocation position is warranted. Despite the pull back in markets, prices are generally not in the cheap range, with the exception of emerging markets with growth continuing to be impacted by China’s covid zero policy. While bonds have been highly volatile, and no doubt have caused investors grief, there is a bright side with yields approaching levels where bonds start to look attractive. From an investment perspective, we also believe it is prudent not to be over exposed to one part of the market. Over recent years high growth stocks such as tech companies have performed extremely well, however in the coming months, having a blend of growth stocks coupled with strong cash generative quality companies will be important.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: This document is published by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583, a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR 1236821) (LIS) of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561 AFSL 421 445 (Lonsec Research).  LIS creates the model portfolios it distributes using the investment research provided by Lonsec Research but LIS has not had any involvement in the investment research process for Lonsec Research. LIS and Lonsec Research are owned by Lonsec Holdings Pty Ltd ACN 151 235 406. Please read the following before making any investment decision about any financial product mentioned in this document.

DISCLOSURE AT THE DATE OF PUBLICATION: Lonsec Research receives a fee from the relevant fund manager or product issuer(s) for researching financial products (using objective criteria) which may be referred to in this document. Lonsec Research may also receive a fee from the fund manager or product issuer(s) for subscribing to research content and other Lonsec Research services.  LIS receives a fee for providing the model portfolios to financial services organisations and professionals. LIS’ and Lonsec Research’s fees are not linked to the financial product rating(s) outcome or the inclusion of the financial product(s) in model portfolios. LIS and Lonsec Research and their representatives and/or their associates may hold any financial product(s) referred to in this document, but details of these holdings are not known to the Lonsec Research analyst(s).

WARNINGS: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this document is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision based on the rating or advice, the reader must consider whether it is personally appropriate in light of his or her financial circumstances or should seek independent financial advice on its appropriateness.  If the financial advice relates to the acquisition or possible acquisition of a particular financial product, the reader should obtain and consider the Investment Statement or the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire the financial product.

DISCLAIMER: No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this document, which is drawn from public information not verified by LIS. The information contained in this document is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this document or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it.

Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583 (LIS). This document may also contain third party supplied material that is subject to copyright.  The same restrictions that apply to LIS copyrighted material, apply to such third-party content.

After years of low inflation and low interest rates, we have finally entered a new period in the economic environment of higher inflation and higher interest rates. But how high will inflation be and by how much will interest rates rise? Periods of transition from a market perspective increase uncertainty and subsequently increase market volatility.

From a dynamic asset allocation perspective, over a number of years we have built up our exposure to real assets and have included alternative assets such as gold, as inflation risk was growing. While we have maintained an underweight exposure to fixed interest, we have ensured that our exposure to the sector has been diversified which has become increasingly important as bond yields continue to rise. The rise in bond yields will means that at some point the yields on offer will become attractive again and warrant an increase exposure. It is fair to say that we believe the coming period will be one where bottom up investment selection will be a key contributor to performance compared to the recent past which has been dominated by low interest rates and ample liquidity which supported a strategy of being long equities and short bonds, which drove performance for many strategies.

From a bottom up perspective, we have seen extreme market activity. On the equities side, the winners have been largely concentrated to those parts of the market that are expected to benefit from a higher inflation environment such as energy and resources. This market environment has seen value style managers outperform growth style managers in recent months, as any long duration investments such a growth equity stocks, which are priced for future growth, have been sold down irrespective of their quality. While the performance of growth style investments has been disappointing, we don’t think it is the time to throw the baby out with the bath water. The market has already pulled back and provided companies are supported by earnings and have solid balance sheets, a long term allocation to growth is still warranted as part of a diversified portfolio. Similarly, on the fixed interest side, bonds have sold off as bond yields have risen. Clients are rightly nervous about their portfolio bond allocation, however if we look forward, bonds are looking much more attractive now on a forward-looking basis than they have in a while.

In volatile times, when returns can look ugly, it is tempting to be reactive and want to sell the ‘losers’ however markets are forward looking and it is important to consider what is already priced into the market. Challenging times ahead but history tells us that market pull backs tend to be sharp but also generally don’t last long.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: This document is published by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583, a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR 1236821) (LIS) of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561 AFSL 421 445 (Lonsec Research).  LIS creates the model portfolios it distributes using the investment research provided by Lonsec Research but LIS has not had any involvement in the investment research process for Lonsec Research. LIS and Lonsec Research are owned by Lonsec Holdings Pty Ltd ACN 151 235 406. Please read the following before making any investment decision about any financial product mentioned in this document.

DISCLOSURE AT THE DATE OF PUBLICATION: Lonsec Research receives a fee from the relevant fund manager or product issuer(s) for researching financial products (using objective criteria) which may be referred to in this document. Lonsec Research may also receive a fee from the fund manager or product issuer(s) for subscribing to research content and other Lonsec Research services.  LIS receives a fee for providing the model portfolios to financial services organisations and professionals. LIS’ and Lonsec Research’s fees are not linked to the financial product rating(s) outcome or the inclusion of the financial product(s) in model portfolios. LIS and Lonsec Research and their representatives and/or their associates may hold any financial product(s) referred to in this document, but details of these holdings are not known to the Lonsec Research analyst(s).

WARNINGS: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this document is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision based on the rating or advice, the reader must consider whether it is personally appropriate in light of his or her financial circumstances or should seek independent financial advice on its appropriateness.  If the financial advice relates to the acquisition or possible acquisition of a particular financial product, the reader should obtain and consider the Investment Statement or the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire the financial product.

DISCLAIMER: No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this document, which is drawn from public information not verified by LIS. The information contained in this document is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this document or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it.

Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583 (LIS). This document may also contain third party supplied material that is subject to copyright.  The same restrictions that apply to LIS copyrighted material, apply to such third-party content.

Years of accommodative monetary policy combined with ample liquidity from central banks, remnants of the global financial crisis of 2008, may be coming to a gradual end. We are arguably entering a transition period in the economic environment from one of low inflation, low interest rates backed by unconventional monetary policy (quantitative easing), to one of higher inflation and the potential of higher interest rates. Adding fuel to inflationary pressures has been a global pandemic where supply chains have been disrupted like never before, heightened geopolitical risks with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, known as the breadbasket of Europe, putting price pressures on everything from crude oil, wheat to sunflower oil, and globalisation, the accepted mantra for economic growth for decades, which is now under increased scrutiny with talk of a deglobalised world.

Periods of transition from a market perspective are always challenging. They are characterised by increased uncertainty and subsequently increased market volatility. In such environments it is a balancing act between defense and offence. In recent years, an offensive game has been a clear winner, however defense has become increasingly important. While we do not have a crystal ball on how high inflation will be and by how much interest rates may rise, the likely trend is up. With this in mind, considering assets that can assist in navigating a higher inflation environment is important. While there is no perfect hedge for inflation there are assets that can benefit from a higher inflation environment. Some of these include real assets such as infrastructure and property, commodities including gold, floating rate notes and inflation linked bonds.

Within Lonsec’s portfolio suite, we have built up our exposure to real assets for a number of years and have included assets such as gold as inflation risk was growing. Within fixed interest we diversified sovereign bond exposures with short-dated bonds and credit exposures. Given the nature of the Australian equity market, domestic investors will also have a structural exposure to commodities via the market. In such environments it is important not to swing the pendulum too far in terms of focusing solely on defense. In uncertain times and periods of market volatility, opportunities do arise. With this in mind we have retained a bias to growth assets and we think that the ability to generate positive active returns has increased and greater price dispersion in markets will provide more attractive entry points for quality assets that may have previously been out of reach due to excessive valuations.

The winds of change may be coming but markets are always evolving and reviewing your game plan is prudent.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: This document is published by Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583, a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR 1236821) (LIS) of Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561 AFSL 421 445 (Lonsec Research).  LIS creates the model portfolios it distributes using the investment research provided by Lonsec Research but LIS has not had any involvement in the investment research process for Lonsec Research. LIS and Lonsec Research are owned by Lonsec Holdings Pty Ltd ACN 151 235 406. Please read the following before making any investment decision about any financial product mentioned in this document.

DISCLOSURE AT THE DATE OF PUBLICATION: Lonsec Research receives a fee from the relevant fund manager or product issuer(s) for researching financial products (using objective criteria) which may be referred to in this document. Lonsec Research may also receive a fee from the fund manager or product issuer(s) for subscribing to research content and other Lonsec Research services.  LIS receives a fee for providing the model portfolios to financial services organisations and professionals. LIS’ and Lonsec Research’s fees are not linked to the financial product rating(s) outcome or the inclusion of the financial product(s) in model portfolios. LIS and Lonsec Research and their representatives and/or their associates may hold any financial product(s) referred to in this document, but details of these holdings are not known to the Lonsec Research analyst(s).

WARNINGS: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this document is limited to general advice and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (“financial circumstances”) of any particular person. Before making an investment decision based on the rating or advice, the reader must consider whether it is personally appropriate in light of his or her financial circumstances or should seek independent financial advice on its appropriateness.  If the financial advice relates to the acquisition or possible acquisition of a particular financial product, the reader should obtain and consider the Investment Statement or the Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire the financial product.

DISCLAIMER: No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this document, which is drawn from public information not verified by LIS. The information contained in this document is current as at the date of publication. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of publication but subject to change without notice. LIS assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, LIS and Lonsec Research, their directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this document or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it.

Copyright © 2022 Lonsec Investment Solutions Pty Ltd ACN 608 837 583 (LIS). This document may also contain third party supplied material that is subject to copyright.  The same restrictions that apply to LIS copyrighted material, apply to such third-party content.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) have been available on the ASX for over 2 decades, but in recent years, this category’s variety and representation within Australian portfolios have grown rapidly.

By offering exposure to different global markets, industry sectors and strategic themes, as well as non-equities asset classes like bonds and commodities, ETFs can provide relatively low-cost “building blocks” for a diversified portfolio.

However, as with any investment, it’s very important to understand what you are putting your money into, and to ensure that it suits your specific needs.  Here are five questions to ask yourself, or your financial adviser, before you purchase an ETF.

Question 1: Does it accurately capture the market exposure that I want?

You wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so make sure to look beyond the ETF’s name to properly assess the underlying exposure of the product. Common misunderstandings include:

  • Mistaking a “picks and shovels” exposure, through owning suppliers and supporters of a sector, for that sector’s output. For example, a portfolio of cryptocurrency miners and exchange operators is not the same as a direct investment into cryptocurrency;
  • Confusion between ETFs linked to a commodity’s spot price, which is the price for immediate delivery, and those representing a futures curve, which will move with expectations for longer-term pricing; and
  • Overlooking exchange rate movements, which can influence your returns from anything not priced in Australian dollars. This impact can be neutralised with a currency-hedged ETF.

Question 2: Is the exposure active, passive, or somewhere in between?

Early ETFs were purely passive, usually linked to an equities index like the S&P/ASX 200, but now, there are also actively managed portfolios within an ETF structure. “Smart beta” portfolios which apply rules-based investment strategies are becoming more common too, for example, one might invest in a basket of stocks which screen well on quality factors. The exposure type affects fee levels and return potential, with passive ETFs tending to be the cheapest, but lacking the potential to outperform an index benchmark.

Question 3: How liquid is this product?

It is possible for the price of an ETF to diverge from that of its underlying exposure, particularly in volatile market conditions such as the COVID-19 panic in early 2020. To ensure that investors can get in and out of a product when they want to, ETF providers often employ a Market Maker, an institution which quotes separate prices to buy and sell units. Generally, ETFs with a smaller pool of units on issue are more likely to have poor liquidity, and this can show up in a wide spread between the buy and sell prices. Using “at-limit” orders when trading ETFs can help ensure that you receive the price you expect.

Question 4: How does the fee compare to alternatives, and what are the trade-offs?

Low cost is a major benefit of ETFs, but when you have several to choose from, it’s worth understanding why one’s management fee is cheaper. Active management usually costs more, and ETFs linked to a major market benchmark are sometimes priced higher because the index provider takes a cut of the total fee. Unusual products may carry a scarcity premium, while new or smaller-scale offerings may have lower fees, both to compensate for their initially poor liquidity, and also to entice more patronage over time.

Question 5: How does it fit with the rest of my portfolio?

Any new investment should be considered in the context of your existing portfolio. ETFs can provide valuable diversification, but they can also be a source of inadvertent overlap or concentrated exposure to certain sectors or factors. For example, ETFs linked to the S&P 500 index, the NASDAQ 100 and an actively-managed global growth strategy might overlap in high exposure to the Big Tech stocks, so this combination might not provide adequate diversification.


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Given the impact the Russian-Ukraine conflict has had on financial markets, Lonsec has surveyed relevant Global Emerging Market Equity managers to ascertain their exposure to Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian securities through the months of December 2021 to February 2022. Where such exposures are identified, Lonsec has also ascertained the underlying holdings and what steps managers have taken given the equity market fall-out from the conflict.

In terms of products with exposures, Lonsec notes that throughout the month of February 2022 the situation was fluid and highly volatile. Key market events included the closure of the Moscow Stock Exchange for all trading alongside major foreign exchanges suspending trading of all Russian Global and American Depository Receipts (GDRs/ADRs). These actions severely limited the optionality of asset managers to respond and transact as desired.

In light of this, asset managers who held Russian equity holdings in mid-to-late February 2022 have been forced to write these off entirely following a period of these being severely impaired. These actions have already been taken and are reflected in unit prices. Additionally, such managers have typically placed hard limits on not acquiring Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian securities for the foreseeable future.

This report aims to outline exposure levels and commonly held Russian stocks from those relevant asset managers within the Global Equities – Global Emerging Market sub-sector, an overview of the Russian equity market alongside a more detailed sequence of events.

Lonsec rated universe: Global Equities – Global Emerging Markets Funds Russian Exposure Weights
APIR Funds 31-Dec-21 31-Jan-21 28-Feb-21
ETL4207AU GQG Partners Emerging Markets Equity Fund – A/Z Class 15.1% 8.3% 1.3%
ETL3590AU Ashmore Emerging Markets Equity Fund 7.8% 6.4% 0.6%
ETL4930AU NB EME Select Trust – I Class 7.3% 6.1% 0.8%
ETL1713AU NB EME Select Trust – W Class 7.3% 6.1% 0.8%
LAZ0003AU Lazard Emerging Markets Equity Fund 7.2% 6.5% 2.4%
ETL0032AU Aberdeen Standard Emerging Opportunities Fund 6.3% 6.0% 1.5%
UBS8018AU UBS Emerging Markets Equity Fund 5.6% 3.3% 1.2%
VAN0221AU Vanguard Active Emerging Markets Equity Fund 5.4% 5.0% 1.2%
CHN8850AU Redwheel Global Emerging Markets Fund 4.1% 4.0% 0.2%
ETL7377AU GQG Partners Global Equity Fund – A Class 3.1% 1.8% 0.2%
PER0736AU BMO LGM Global Emerging Market Fund 2.6% 2.5% 1.4%
BTA0419AU Pendal Global Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund – WS 2.4% 4.9% 0.9%
ETL0201AU Legg Mason Martin Currie Emerging Markets Fund 2.3% 2.1% 0.2%
EMMG BetaShares Legg Mason Emerging Markets Fund (Managed Fund) 2.2% 2.1% 0.2%
FID0031AU Fidelity Global Emerging Markets Fund 1.9% 2.5% 0.4%
FEMX Fidelity Global Emerging Markets Fund (Managed Fund) 1.9% 2.5% 0.4%
FID0010AU Fidelity Asia Fund 0.0% 0.0% 0.8%

 

MSCI EM Benchmark 3.6% 3.2% 1.6%*

(*On March 4th, 2022, MSCI announced Russia would be removed from the Index effective March 9th, 2022)

 

MSCI Russia 25 / 50 Index constituents, index weights, performance and Lonsec Global Emerging Markets sub-sector portfolio representation as of 28 February 2022

 

Stock name Sector Index Weight (%) Performance (31 Dec 21 – 28 Feb 22) No. of funds holding
GAZPROM Energy 21.1% -51.5% 5
NK LUKOIL Energy 16.0% -45.1% 9
SBERBANK ROSSII Financials 8.9% -68.8% 7
GMK NORILSKIY NIKEL Materials 7.0% -38.7% 2
TATNEFT Energy 4.8% -47.5%
POLYUS Materials 3.6% -40.5% 2
TCS GROUP HOLDING REPR CLASS A RE Financials 3.6% -61.0% 5
SEVERSTAL Materials 3.1% -38.6% 2
NOVOLIPETSK STEEL Materials 3.0% -39.7%
MOBILE TELESYSTEMS PUBLIC JOINT AD Communication 3.0% -30.8% 2
NK ROSNEFT Energy 2.9% -64.1% 2
POLYMETAL INTERNATIONAL PLC Materials 2.7% -52.3%
YANDEX NV CLASS A Communication 2.5% -70.1% 5
SURGUTNEFTEGAZ PREF Energy 2.5% -41.2%
AK ALROSA Materials 2.3% -51.2%
PAO NOVATEK GDR Energy 1.9% -83.6% 3
SURGUTNEFTEGAZ Energy 1.8% -60.4%
X5 RETAIL GROUP GDR NV Consumer Staples 1.7% -54.7% 1
MOSCOW EXCHANGE Financials 1.7% -54.4% 1
INTER RAO EES Utilities 1.4% -50.0%
UNITED COMPANY RUSAL Materials 1.3% -41.4% 1
PJSC PHOSAGRO GDR Materials 1.1% -71.7%
MAGNIT PJSC SPONSORED RUSSIA RU DR Consumer Staples 0.6% -89.3%
OZON HOLDINGS ADR PLC Consumer Discretionary 0.4% -66.7%
MAIL RU GROUP GDR LTD Communication 0.4% -75.9%
HeadHunter Group PLC Communication 0%* -70.6% 1
Fix Price Group Ltd – GDR Consumer Staples 0%* -87.5% 1
Globaltrans Investment Plc Industrials 0%* -89.7% 1

* Not included with the MSCI Russia 25 / 50 Index

Timeline of events

January 2022

  • The build-up of Russian troops along the border of Ukraine and heightened tensions compelled some Managers to reappraise the geopolitical risks and pair back their associated Russian exposures throughout the month.

February 2022

  • Sanctions against Russia escalate throughout the month from the US, UK and EU. Asset managers faced increasing liquidity issues trading their Russian equities. On February 22, the US announced full blocking sanctions on several Russian banks and cancelled Russian sales of sovereign bonds on US money markets.
  • February 24, Russian troops invade Ukraine which brings further international condemnation. As a result, Russia’s local bourse fell 40%.
  • February 25, Russia’s Central Bank closed the Moscow exchange, suspending all stock and foreign currency trading.
  • February 25, asset managers begin to severely impair their Russian assets and introduce fair value pricing to calculate unit prices due to the inability to trade and accurately price Russian assets.
  • February 26, the European Union announces sanctions to limit Russia’s ability to access an estimated US$630bn in reserves to finance war and avoid the impact of sanctions being applied.
  • 27 February, the US and EU announce a ban on Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank transaction system which is the backbone of the international financial transfer system. The sanction cuts Russia off from the international banking system crippling their ability to trade with the rest of the world.
  • 28 February, major stock exchanges progressively introduced suspensions on trading Russian equity American Depository Receipts/Global Depository Receipts (ADRs and GDRs).
  • 28 February, the Russian Ruble succumbs to heavy exchange pressure, weakening by over 20% against the greenback. In an effort to stabilise the currency, Russia’s Central Bank called an emergency meeting and increased interest rates from 11% to 20%.
  • 28 February, asset managers begin to write down their Russian asset entirely.

March 2022

  • 1 March, S&P Global Ratings downgrades several Russian banks and placed the ratings of another 19 on CreditWatch negative.
  • 2 March, Russia’s Central bank desperately attempts to prevent a run on Russian bank reserves by announcing lower reserve requirements. The Central bank announced that the liquidity gap in the Russian banking system was US$68 billion dollars, a 27% increase in the gap in just one day.
  • 3 March, the International Energy Agency unveils a 10-point plan to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian gas. Europe currently is immensely reliant on Russian oil with roughly 40% of its gas supplied by Russia.
  • 4 March, Major index providers, such as MSCI, FTSE and S&P begin to announce that the Russian market is “uninvestable” with indices recalculated by 9 March. All Russian assets were marked down to effectively zero.
  • 4 March, the Australian Federal government called on Australian superannuation funds to divest Russian assets. Australian superannuation funds confirm that they are set to encounter losses of up to A$2bn on Russian assets when trading resumes on the Moscow Stock Exchange.
  • 6 March, Visa, Mastercard and American Express announce that they will be suspending all foreign transactions associated with Russia.
  • 8 March, countless top brands and industry leaders such as Disney, Exxon, Shell, Apple and McDonalds either suspend operations in Russia or make plans to wind them down. Further, the US announced a ban on all imports of Russian Energy in addition to banning exports of oil refining technology making it substantially more difficult for Russia to continue the modernisation of their oil refineries.
  • 10 March, Russian companies begin looking into the possibility of relocating employees from Russia.

Conclusion

While share price movements have been severe in isolation, Lonsec notes that losses at an overall fund level have tended to be relatively contained given Russia makes up only a small proportion of emerging markets universe. There were however a small number of managers which had a material allocation to Russia through the early parts of 2022. While these exposures were progressively paired back in most instances, the write-off of the remaining holdings will however meaningfully impact Fund performance in the short-to-medium term.

Regardless of direct exposure, Lonsec highlights that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will continue to meaningfully influence financial markets for the foreseeable future given the long-lasting repercussions on global trade. The idea of a single and open global economy is now a distant dream given the geopolitical tensions between superpowers Russia, China, the US and NATO nations. This comes off the back of already fractured relations following the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The onset of war and related sanctions add fuel to an inflation bonfire initially lit by a resurgence in demand as the world emerged from the pandemic. Higher interest rates could well be imposed at an even quicker rate than expected, potentially stifling economic growth and asset prices in the process.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This document is published by Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561, AFSL No. 421445 (Lonsec). Please read the following before making any investment decision about any financial product mentioned in this document.
Disclosure as at the date of publication: Lonsec receives fees from fund managers or product issuers for researching their financial product(s) using comprehensive and objective criteria. Lonsec receives subscriptions for providing research content to subscribers including fund managers and product issuers. Lonsec receives fees for providing investment consulting advice to clients, which includes model portfolios, approved product lists and other advice. Lonsec’s fees are not linked to the product rating outcome or the inclusion of products in model portfolios, or in approved product lists. Lonsec and its representatives, Authorised Representatives and their respective associates may have positions in the financial product(s) mentioned in this document, which may change during the life of this document, but Lonsec considers such holdings not to be sufficiently material to compromise any recommendation or advice.
Warnings: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information contained in this document is obtained from various sources deemed to be reliable. It is not guaranteed as accurate or complete and should not be relied upon as such. Opinions expressed are subject to change. This document is but one tool to help make investment decisions. The changing character of markets requires constant analysis and may result in changes. Any express or implied rating or advice presented in this document is limited to “General Advice” (as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)) and based solely on consideration of the investment merits of the financial product(s) alone, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs (‘financial circumstances’) of any particular person. It does not constitute a recommendation to purchase, redeem or sell the relevant financial product(s).
Before making an investment decision based on the rating(s) or advice, the reader must consider whether it is personally appropriate in light of his or her financial circumstances, or should seek independent financial advice on its appropriateness. If our advice relates to the acquisition or possible acquisition of particular financial product(s), the reader should obtain and consider the Investment Statement or Product Disclosure Statement for each financial product before making any decision about whether to acquire a financial product. Where Lonsec’s research process relies upon the participation of the fund manager(s) or product issuer(s) and they are no longer an active participant in Lonsec’s research process, Lonsec reserves the right to withdraw the document at any time and discontinue future coverage of the financial product(s).
Disclaimer: This document is for the exclusive use of the person to whom it is provided by Lonsec and must not be used or relied upon by any other person. No representation, warranty or undertaking is given or made in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this document, which is drawn from public information not verified by Lonsec. Financial conclusions, ratings and advice are reasonably held at the time of completion but subject to change without notice. Lonsec assumes no obligation to update this document following publication. Except for any liability which cannot be excluded, Lonsec, its directors, officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error or inaccuracy in, misstatement or omission from, this document or any loss or damage suffered by the reader or any other person as a consequence of relying upon it.
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