Schroder Balanced Fund – W Class
CFS FirstChoice Multi-Index Balanced Fund – Class A
Sunsuper for Life – Balanced
As a previous winner in this category, Schroders was showered with praise from Lonsec, which said the team continued to be a leading example of a stable and experienced set of investment professionals that could navigate through difficult macroeconomic environments.
Lonsec also called the firm a ‘pioneer’ in the real return space, which has been able to deliver strong returns for investors in a traditional balanced allocation.
Schroders head of fixed income and multi-asset, Australia, Simon Doyle said the fund, which was a traditional type of portfolio, succeeded due to the investment team’s emphasis on valuation, which anchors the investment process.
“But price, what you pay for an asset, has a big impact on the return that you get for it but also the risk associated with it. And so our investment process is very much anchored in this idea of valuations being quite important,” Doyle said.
As a finalist, the Colonial First State (CFS) FirstChoice Multi-Index Balanced Fund – Class A is part of a multi-index series of five funds with the firm about to launch a sixth fund.
The fund, launched in 2009 succeeded as the investor benefited from the cost, which was lower than the more traditional balanced fund, but they still had the opportunity to enjoy outperformance in the underlying sectors.
CFS head of investments, Scott Tully said: “The philosophy is quite simple: it’s being diversified both at the sector level and diversified across sectors and within each sector by using a more passive approach to invest in”.
“By doing so we make it a lower cost option. We are strong believers in strategic asset allocation, that we set the asset allocation, and we’re not trying to pick and choose market timings,” he said.
Sunsuper’s portfolio manager for asset allocation, Andrew Fisheris, attributed the firm’s success to its strategy of investing into alternative assets, particularly property and infrastructure, which had performed particularly well in the last 12 months.
“We think it’s an area where we have a bit of a strategic advantage so we do like to invest there over even a strategic horizon. We also think that diversification, as you sort of approach the later stages of an economic cycle, will work through much in your favour in the alternative space,” he said.