CONTRARY to some claims, the balanced portfolio isn’t dead.
Periods of volatility and changing correlations are a normal part of the market cycle, and that is what’s happening now, says Michael Blayney, head of Pendal’s multi-asset investments team.
“While there are clearly a lot of headwinds to equities at present, Australia is fortunate that the local market is more reasonably valued than many offshore markets. Also, the resources weighting of the ASX helps provide a partial hedge against inflation,” Blayney says.
Blayney’s fund remains modestly underweight equities. But he says Australia, in a relative sense, is one of the more attractive markets globally.
Rising yields have hurt fixed income investments, but on a forward-looking basis Australian 10-year bonds now yield more than 4 per cent for the first time since 2014.
“This higher-running yield provides an attractive level of income relative to cash, and a cushion against the impact of any further increases in yields,” Blayney says.
“While we retain an underweight allocation to bonds in portfolios generally, we do see Australia as relatively attractive compared to other major bond markets.”
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Times of market volatility tend to throw up opportunities.
“While we’re not at the point, yet, of seeing ‘bargains’ like March 2020 or late 2008, the market falls have led to lower valuations across a range of asset classes,” Blayney says.
Now is a good time to rebalance, whereby assets are trimmed after strong price increases and topped up after falls, he says.
“It is one of the simplest and best ways to incrementally improve long-term outcomes.
“In the present environment, this would naturally lead investors to trim cash and alternatives and top up cheaper equity and bond holdings.”
Blayney says equity markets tend to fall about one year in three — meaning they rise the other two.
“Investing in a globally diversified portfolio — with a mix of equities, bonds, alternatives, property and cash — has proven a sound strategy for long-term wealth creation over many decades, through wars, pandemics and a host of economic crises.
“Conversely, panicking after large market falls and selling has, generally, been a wealth-destroying activity for investors.
“You see classic examples of that behaviour at work in 2008 and early 2020.
“While we’ve been somewhat underweight equities and bonds in portfolios this year, these are relatively modest positions in the context of our long-term strategic asset allocations.
“We continue to believe investors should ‘stay the course’ in respect of their long-term strategies.”
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 Stuart Eliot and Allan Polley — manages our multi-asset portfolios with a focus on strategic asset allocation, active management and tactical asset allocation.
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