Hi there! Welcome to the new look Pendal website... Take a two minute tour to see what we’ve changed.

Mainstream Online Web Portal

Investors can view their accounts online via a secure web portal. After registering, you can access your account balances, periodical statements, tax statements, transaction histories and distribution statements / details.
Advisers will also have access to view their clients’ accounts online via the secure web portal.

Got money in a global bond index fund? You should read this

Global bond index funds carry hidden risks that undermine their role in providing stability and defensiveness to a portfolio. Pendal’s MICHAEL BLAYNEY explains

A FUNDAMENTAL flaw in global bond indicies undermines their role in providing defensiveness to a portfolio by allocating higher weightings to the most indebted countries.

That’s the view of portfolio manager Michael Blayney, who heads up Pendal’s multi-asset team.

Indexing bond investments appeals to many investors because it offers a low-cost method of incorporating diversified, defensive assets into a portfolio.

But the practice of weighting bond indicies by the market value of outstanding debt can undermine that defensive role.

“At the heart of it, there’s a core problem in bond indicies — the more you borrow, the bigger your weight,” says Blayney.

“That’s different from an equity index, where generally the better your earnings, revenues and growth prospects, the bigger your weight.

Find out about

Pendal Multi-Asset Funds

“Instead in bonds, it’s how indebted you are that determines your weight.

“Essentially, we are lending more to the people that owe the most money.”

A closer look at the benchmark

The main global bond benchmark — the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Bond Index — tracks the performance of bonds from many different countries.

“It is intended to be an investment-grade index,” says Blayney.

“But it does give you exposure to a number of potentially less-liquid markets that could cause you problems in a crisis.”

Key weightings that could cause concern include a 9 per cent exposure to China, a 5 per cent exposure to emerging markets and a 3 per cent exposure to Italy.

“When you buy a bond index, you’re getting 40 per cent weight to the US with pretty good yields and pretty good credit worthiness.

“But you’re also buying a whole bunch of other markets, a number of which have their own idiosyncratic problems that could bite you in times of crisis,” says Blayney.

“One of the big geopolitical risks of our time is China and Taiwan. In the event of a crisis, is an Australian investor going to be easily able to access and liquidate their Chinese bonds?

“Italy is one of the most indebted countries in the world as a proportion of GDP — it is not necessarily a low risk investment.”

The index also overweights Japan at 12 per cent, which drags down the average yield of the index due to Japan’s very low interest rates, says Blayney.

“The key difference between bonds and equities is asymmetric payoff — with bonds, on a hold to maturity basis, the best you can ever do is get paid back, but the worst you can do is lose all your money.

“In equities, the worst you can do for an individual stock is lose all the money, but you’ve got unlimited upside.”

Your Future, Your Super risks

Many big superannuation funds are carrying unnecessary risk in their fixed income portfolios as a result of the underlying index weightings, argues Blayney.

The federal government’s annual testing regime for super funds benchmarks against pre-set portfolios of passive, low-cost investments that include the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Bond Index.

“This index is specified in the Your Future Your Super regulations as the index that has to be used by super funds,” says Blayney.

Funds that underperform due to straying from the index risk failing the annual assessments.

“And the reality is that any time you take a differentiated approach, you’ll go through periods of underperformance,” says Blayney.

Guarding against the index risk

How can investors guard against these risks?

Blayney says one way is to use sustainable bond funds which tend to screen out China and problematic emerging markets.

Another is to lift home bias.

Australian bond indexes are mostly Commonwealth bonds and state government bonds, which are generally low risk.

“There is a strong case for domestic bias in bonds,” says Blayney.

About Michael Blayney and Pendal’s Multi-Asset capabilities

Michael Blayney leads Pendal’s multi-asset team. Michael has more than 20 years of investment management and consulting experience. He was previously Head of Investment Strategy at First State Super and head of Diversified Strategies at Perpetual.

Pendal’s diversified funds provide investors with a variety of traditional and alternative asset classes and strategies.

The team — which also includes Allan Polley — manages our multi-asset portfolios with a focus on strategic asset allocation, active management and tactical asset allocation.

Find out more about Pendal’s multi asset funds:

Contact a Pendal account manager here

This information has been prepared by Pendal Fund Services Limited (PFSL) ABN 13 161 249 332, AFSL No 431426 and is current at August 23, 2023. PFSL is the responsible entity and issuer of units in the Pendal Multi-Asset Target Return Fund (Fund) ARSN: 623 987 968. A product disclosure statement (PDS) is available for the Fund and can be obtained by calling 1300 346 821 or visiting www.pendalgroup.com.

The Target Market Determination (TMD) for the Fund is available at www.pendalgroup.com/ddo. You should obtain and consider the PDS and the TMD before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund. An investment in the Fund or any of the funds referred to in this web page is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested.

This information is for general purposes only, should not be considered as a comprehensive statement on any matter and should not be relied upon as such. It has been prepared without taking into account any recipient’s personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, recipients should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness having regard to their individual objectives, financial situation and needs. This information is not to be regarded as a securities recommendation. The information may contain material provided by third parties, is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate as at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, and while all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information is complete and correct, to the maximum extent permitted by law neither PFSL nor any company in the Pendal group accepts any responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of this information.

Performance figures are calculated in accordance with the Financial Services Council (FSC) standards. Performance data (post-fee) assumes reinvestment of distributions and is calculated using exit prices, net of management costs. Performance data (pre-fee) is calculated by adding back management costs to the post-fee performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Any projections are predictive only and should not be relied upon when making an investment decision or recommendation.

While we have used every effort to ensure that the assumptions on which the projections are based are reasonable, the projections may be based on incorrect assumptions or may not take into account known or unknown risks and uncertainties. The actual results may differ materially from these projections. For more information, please call Customer Relations on 1300 346 821 8am to 6pm (Sydney time) or visit our website www.pendalgroup.com

Keep updated
Sign up to receive the latest news and views