Lonsec has awarded a “highly recommended” to the BetaShares Legg Mason Australian Bond Fund (BNDS) which was launched in November last year.
The research house said that, relative to its peers, the fund had delivered greater returns than the median over all periods to February 2019, with similar or lower volatility across all time periods which resulted in higher reported Sharpe ratios than its peers.
“Lonsec has a high regard for the experienced investment team led by Anthony Kirkham and Western Asset’s global resources, which the team can efficiently leverage off,” the rater said.
“Furthermore, Lonsec views the manager’s thorough research and portfolio construction process and its portfolio and risk management systems to be attractive features.”
The fund, which was managed by wholly owned subsidiary of Legg Mason and was Australia’s first fixed income active exchange-traded fund (ETF), applied the same investment strategy as the unlisted Legg Mason Western Asset Australian bond fund and offered investors access to actively-managed portfolio of investment grade Australian dollar-denominated debt in one trade on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), the firm said.
Legg Mason Australia and New Zealand’s managing director, Andy Sowerby, said the ETF was attracting a ‘growing pool’ of investors, particularly attracted by Kirkham’s years of experience in the fixed income space.
“Since launch in November last year, BNDS has attracted a growing pool of investors who believe Australian fixed income to be an integral part of their portfolio diversification. An Active ETF that gives access to a proven investment strategy at a compelling fee, led by Anthony Kirkham, one of the country’s most experienced fixed income managers, has great appeal.”
The Legg Mason Western Asset Australian Bond Fund, the unlisted version of the fund, had a track record in excess of 20 years and is $770 million in size.