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Our portfolio approach improves your potential of achieving your wealth and financial goals

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Constructing your portfolio

A portfolio approach fosters discipline and avoids key behavioural biases, such as reacting to short-term market moves, which can hurt investment returns. We believe investors should have a diversified portfolio as a starting point in their investment plan.

1. Get your asset allocation right

Using 7 year capital market assumptions, we derive optimal allocations to asset classes delivered through our Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) models.

SAA models are then adjusted to incorporate our 6-12 month CIO house views to form the Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA) models.

Tactical Asset Allocation:

Tactical over or under-weight tilts are made to the SAA to take advantage of market trends or expectations to create our TAA.

This enhances returns and can reduce volatility by providing an active overlay to fine-tune asset allocation.


2. Differentiation between SAA and TAA

SAA is an important determinant of long-term expected returns, especially in a long-only portfolio. It also offers a structured way to investment planning, guiding the allocation to each asset class, which helps to mitigate certain behavioural biases, such as over trading, excessive euphoria or pessimism. Our SAA models are diversified with the aim of producing a reasonable risk and return trade-off over a full business cycle. They are targeted to be efficient and produce the highest estimated return per unit of risk assumed, based on the long-term CMA’s risk and return assumptions.

TAA value-adds to enhance returns or reduce portfolio volatility by providing an active overlay to adjust or fine-tune asset allocation, taking advantage of market trends expected to play out over the next 6-12 months. Investors can take advantage of opportunities in assets which are experiencing extreme pessimism to tactically increase allocation, while taking profits during periods when assets are experiencing euphoria.

3. Create a Foundation portfolio

We believe every investor, when building their portfolio, should start with a strong Foundation Portfolio.

A Foundation portfolio is robust, stable and diversified. It is tailored to your circumstances and goals, and delivers returns through investment cycles.

We build Foundation Portfolio’s using our Tactical Asset Allocation (TAA) as a guide.

4. Add the right mix of Opportunistic ideas

Opportunistic ideas are narrower in focus and shorter term. They are used to add income, diversify or take advantage of short term moves in markets.

  • Examples include sector or industry focused investments, single securities, currencies, commodities, structured solutions and thematic ideas
  • The higher your risk tolerance or experience, the more comfortable you may be investing in Opportunistic ideas

How much to allocate to Foundation vs Opportunistic ideas is unique to each investor. At different life stages, your risk appetite and investment preferences may change, which our advisory approach is flexible to accommodate.

5. How different portfolio solutions suit different client types

We also acknowledge that at different life stages, your risk appetite and preference for certain asset allocations may change.

The decision of how much to allocate to Foundation versus shorter term Opportunistic ideas is unique to each investor.

The table provides indicative allocations & depends on the type of investor you are, level of activity you wish to undertake on your portfolio, risk appetite & financial goals.

Additional considerations when building your portfolio

1. Get a well-designed plan to ensure you are protected

A good protection plan should not only protect your wealth today, but also consider the value of your future earnings over your lifetime, in today’s terms. It should provide a safety net, shielding both your wealth and future earnings capacity, ensuring that your financial goals are not side-tracked or delayed due to unforeseen life events. And it is also a great tool to ensure systematic planning for future needs, including leaving behind a legacy for your loved ones.

2. Incorporating sustainability or ESG

ESG is a way of investing, which considers potential ESG risks and opportunities, alongside traditional financial analysis. It can be applied in both the Foundation portfolio and Opportunistic investments. In terms of allocations in your Foundation, there are ESG integrated funds which can be either multi-asset, equities or fixed income focused. These funds take into consideration material environmental, social and governance factors. In terms of Opportunistic ESG investments, these fall under sustainable thematic ideas, such as climate change, water, electric vehicles. There are also single securities available which have a high ESG score.

3. Take your base currency into account

Investing in overseas assets generates diversification benefits, but also means investors become exposed to currency risks of their assets relative to their future liabilities. The impact of this exposure is factored into the SAA construction process.

When deciding whether to hedge the currency exposure, it is important to understand the implications on the potential volatility of the holdings in local currency terms. Our recommendation for bonds, absent a strong view on currency performance, is generally to hedge the currency exposure, where FX moves can easily dominate realised returns. However, for equity holdings, we would generally leave the currency exposure unhedged.

4. The potential power of leverage

Employing leverage has the potential to increase returns on an asset or a portfolio if the return is above the client’s funding cost. However, leverage can magnify losses as well. If the value of the investment holdings declines, then leverage magnifies the portfolio loss. As such, employing leverage increases the overall volatility of the portfolio.

There are 4 considerations when it comes to employing leverage and to what extent. These relate to both the nature of the asset or portfolio being leveraged and the client’s ability to weather different outcomes:

  • The client’s risk tolerance: Leverage increases the volatility of returns. It should be consistent with the client’s ability to weather this volatility at both the financial and emotional level.
  • The implications of a margin call: The biggest fear for an investor should be the risk of permanent financial loss (rather than transitory losses which can be recouped over time). Using leverage introduces the risk of being forced to sell holdings regardless of the forward-looking outlook. This means the client would not be able to participate in any ensuing recovery. The less liquidity the client can generate in a situation when there is a severe market dislocation, the less leverage should be used.
  • The outlook for the asset or portfolio being leveraged: If the client has a high level of conviction that the investment will perform well, then more leverage may be justified.
  • The volatility of the underlying asset: The greater the volatility of the underlying asset, the less leverage should be employed.

Our advisory process

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