From nothing to something

crowns ratings Eley Griffiths GQG Partners Legg Mason brandywine Perennial CFS kiwisaver Brian Kloss Laird Abernethy

7 September 2020
| By Chris Dastoor |
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There are 10 funds that have received 5 Crowns in their very first rating in the latest FE fundinfo Crown rating rebalance, having previously held an insufficient track record to qualify for a rating.

Colonial First State (CFS) and Simplicity both had three newly-rated 5 Crown funds, along with Eley Griffiths Group Emerging Companies, GQG Partners Global Equity, Legg Mason Brandywine Global Income Optimiser, and Perennial Value Microcap Opportunities Trust.

The three CFS funds were the CFS High Quality US High Yield, US Select High Yield and US Short Duration High Yield funds.

Simplicity, which was a NZ firm that offered KiwiSaver accounts as well as managed funds, saw its three mixed asset funds – Growth, Balanced and Conservative – all receive 5 Crowns.

It was a good year for the Legg Mason Brandywine funds, which also saw the Global Opportunistic Fixed Income and Global Fixed Income Trust funds nominated for the Money Management Fund Manager of the Year awards in the global fixed income category.

Brian Kloss, Legg Mason Brandywine Global Income Optimiser portfolio manager, said the success of the fund could be attributed to a differentiated approach that sought to provide attractive income, capital preservation and growth over a market cycle for strong risk-adjusted total returns.

“Last year, the fund had been positioned for global growth with a focus on high real-yielding opportunities, including select emerging markets, peripheral European countries, and commodity sensitive economies and their currencies,” Kloss said.

“Given low real yields and increasing price risk, we saw little value in core developed markets, believing these sovereign bonds were trading at a significant premium to intrinsic value.

“We also were positioned for longer-term weakness in the US dollar.”

Laird Abernethy, GQG Partners Australia and New Zealand managing director, said the outperformance of the GQG fund was due to the team developing accurate and differentiated insights into companies which provided the best platform to generate alpha.

“To develop these insights we have built an analyst team that fosters independent thinking,” Abernethy said.

“In addition to traditional analysis we have analysts with investigative journalist backgrounds that help source the multiple perspectives that galvanise our differentiated insights.”

Andrew Smith, Perennial head of smaller companies and microcaps, said the advantage of the Perennial Value Microcap Opportunities fund was it covered stocks missed by the broader investment community.

“Marley Spoon is a good example which we added to the portfolio in the sharp March sell-off [and] Genetic Signatures is another which we added late in 2019,” Smith said.

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