Manulife Asset Management launches new flexible allocation fund
for clients of Standard Chartered

From left: Jason Chong, Chief Investment Officer and MD, Manulife Asset Management Services Berhad (MAMSB); Wong Boon Choy, CEO and Executive Director, MAMSB; Mark O’Dell, CEO, Manulife Holdings Berhad; Pramod Veturi, MD and Head, Wealth Management, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia; Danny Chang, Head, Managed Investments & Products Management; Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 18 August 2016 – Manulife Asset Management Services Berhad (“MAMSB”) today announced the Manulife Flexi Growth & Income Fund (“the Fund”) for clients of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia (“Standard Chartered”). The mixed-asset, growth and income fund seeks to provide income* and capital appreciation over a medium to long term period by adopting a flexible asset allocation strategy. It is the seventh fund in MAMSB’s well-received Flexi Series of unit trusts to be launched, and the first in the series to be offered to a banking distribution partner’s clients.

The Fund is an all-weather fund that aims to provide steady returns through changing economic cycles. It has the flexibility to switch between equities, fixed income securities and money market instruments, enabling it to capitalise on investment opportunities from upside trends and protect its capital during adverse market conditions.

“We are pleased to launch this fund for the clients of Standard Chartered, our valued banking distribution partner,” said Wong Boon Choy, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Manulife Asset Management Services Berhad. “We felt it has been long overdue that clients of Standard Chartered have access to a fund in our Flexi Series which allows them to invest with peace of mind while also offering the potential for a reasonable rate of return. The Fund adopts a flexible asset allocation strategy under which our investment professionals draw on their expertise to tactically adjust exposure to asset classes and markets, taking this responsibility out of the hands of individual investors.”

Pramod Veturi, Managing Director and Head of Wealth Management, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, said: “We are proud to be chosen by Manulife as the first bank distribution partner of a fund under their Flexi Series. Last year, we launched three funds with Manulife that were well received by our clients. We are confident that the Manulife Flexi Growth & Income Fund will be equally popular. In an environment of low interest rates globally, our focus has been on helping clients find diversified sources of income via a multi-asset income strategy. The Manulife Flexi Growth & Income Fund fits in with this strategy as the manager’s flexible diversified approach will benefit investors in managing drawdown risks.

Over the past 20 years, history suggests that multi asset strategy is more rewarding with better return in relation to the risk that it took on, compared to investing solely in one asset class locally. This is a solid long term investment strategy that has confronted volatility from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, 2000 Dotcom meltdown, September 11 attacks, 2008 Global Financial Crisis, European Debt Crisis and recent Brexit.

Jason Chong, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director of Manulife Asset Management Services Berhad said, “Today, we are facing a resemblance of the market four years ago, where the world economy was forecasted to show lackluster growth. In view of the persistent low-growth, low-interest rate, and highly volatile macroeconomic outlook, a flexible investment approach will make an ideal all-weather fund through the market cycles. Such is the feature of the Manulife Flexi Growth & Income Fund, allowing for switching between growth and income-rotation strategies and diversifying investments abroad opportunistically.”

As an example showing the effectiveness of a dynamic asset allocation strategy, the Manulife Investment-ML Flexi Fund (“ML Flexi”), which has a similar investment style to the Fund, registered a one-year return of 8.2%** in 2012 and 12.9%*** in 2013, outperforming its stipulated benchmark. Its fund manager shifted the focus from growth to an income rotation strategy by overweighting the portfolio with a combination of money market instruments, bond-like yielding equities and real estate investment trusts during the period to achieve the outperformance.

Commenting on the global market environment, Chong added, “With anemic growth prospects clouding the major economies of the Eurozone, China and Japan, the macroeconomic uncertainties have cast a long shadow on global financial markets. However, ample liquidity arising from quantitative easing measures by central bankers could cushion the downside risk bias as investors need to search for returns in a low interest rate environment. Such erratic liquidity flows will continue to drive market volatility around the world.”

The Fund invests in a diversified portfolio of equities, fixed income securities and money market instruments. The Manager aims to achieve the objective of the Fund by adopting a flexible asset allocation strategy depending on the Manager’s tactical view. The Fund will concentrate on investing in asset classes which offer prospects of capital growth and income distribution. There are no fixed sectoral weightings in the allocation of assets for the Fund. It may invest up to 98% of its NAV in a single asset class of equities or fixed income securities (including money market instruments), and a minimum of 2% in liquid assets.

Investors of the Fund also gain exposure to investment opportunities in the Asia region as the Fund may invest up to 30% of its NAV in the Asia region, including but not limited to Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The Fund is suitable for investors who are willing to accept a medium to high level of risk, seek capital appreciation and a steady income stream over a medium to long term investment horizon.

During the 21-day initial offer period, which runs from 18 August until 7 September 2016, the initial offer price is RM0.10 per unit. The minimum initial investment is RM1,000 and the minimum additional investment is RM100.

The Fund is offered exclusively to clients of Standard Chartered during the first six (6) months from launch date, after which the Fund will be made available for distribution by MAMSB’s other distribution partners.

* Income will be distributed by way of reinvestment as additional Units or by payment in cash.
** For the period 31/12/2011 to 31/12/2012
*** For the period 31/12/2012 to 31/12/2013
Source: Lipper IM


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Pramod Veturi Managing Director & Head, Wealth Management, Malaysia View profile

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