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Our funds philosophy

Our funds philosophy

We aim to generate the best possible returns, in line with expectations and appetite for risk. In our view, active management expressed across diversified funds, whether single or multi-asset class strategies, is the best way to aim to achieve superior performance.

We do this through:

  • Expert asset allocation
  • Intensive research
  • Identifying high-quality securities and third party funds
  • Focussed risk management
  • Risk models created with the assistance of Moody's Analytics data - a leading name in economic research and risk management

Our approach is always long-term. We focus on generating positive returns, the right balance of growth and income, and ways to preserve wealth. Investment expertise is at the heart of our approach, but we can also use high quality external funds or passive instruments. We will not invest in products where it is unclear how returns are generated, or where we are unable to carry out thorough due diligence.

Our philosophy

Active management  - We constantly review investment markets and our funds, so we can move rapidly to protect clients’ interests or capture new opportunities.

Diversification - One of the key factors in enhancing performance, while managing risk, is diversification. Within each asset class – equities, bonds, diversifiers and cash – we use in-depth research to seek out the best individual investments. We seek to diversify across asset classes in varying allocations depending on the strategic risk profile for multi-asset funds, while diversification is also achievable within each asset class within those funds. Single asset class solutions, such as a bond fund, can also invest across many different types of fixed income security, for example.

Liquid investments -  We favour securities (equities and bonds) and funds that we can buy and sell quickly. This allows us to make valuable tactical shifts, or move into cash if required.

Expertise - Collectively, our 80+ investment professionals have decades of experience in macro-economic analysis and global asset allocation, asset classes and industry sectors, index trackers, and third party funds.

Risk management - We regularly monitor our funds to ensure that the right levels of risk are being taken in relation to the fund’s mandate.

Our process

The seven main components are:

We use a combination of asset classes as the building blocks for our portfolios: shares, bonds (government and corporate), cash and diversifiers. Each asset class contributes to performance in a different and complementary way.

Shares, or equities, represent a share of ownership in a business. They can offer good opportunities for generating long-term capital growth as well as income in the form of dividends but typically also carry a greater degree of risk when compared to other asset classes.

Fixed income securities can be defined as a loan to either a company (corporate bond) or a government, for example the UK (Gilts). These loans can help to diversify portfolio returns away from equities, while also providing a more reliable source of income although this can come at the expense of capital growth.

In diversifier investments we focus on liquid, alternative investments providing exposure to property, infrastructure, commodities and absolute return funds.

We partner with Moody’s – a market and economic analytics organisation – to derive our own Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA). This is a long-term forecast view (c20 years) of the return and risk profile of all the asset classes we can invest in.

However, there can be prolonged periods when asset class returns deviate from their forecast long-term trends. Therefore, we need to be willing to be active investors from both an asset allocation and security selection perspective.

We arrive at our tactical asset allocation decision through our quarterly asset allocation meetings. This meeting is chaired by our Chief Investment Officer and attended by all senior investment professionals. These meetings are complemented by an ongoing discussion of key economic and market trends.

All investment / fund managers are asked to confirm their high conviction views on what will drive markets over the coming 6-12 months, with the results presented and discussed at the quarterly meeting. The outcome then becomes the ‘Core View’ for the firm over the quarter – our collective thinking. A tactical asset allocation is then derived, detailing how this outlook translates into full asset allocations across strategies and risk profiles. For multi-asset strategies, the tactical asset allocation is set against our strategic asset allocation derived in conjunction with Moody’s Analytics data.

Additionally, we hold other meetings and forums attended by fund managers and other senior investment professionals, including multi-asset, fixed income and diversifier strategy meetings. Their output contributes to debate as to the best tactical asset allocation decided quarterly.

The purpose of tactical asset allocation is to enhance returns and minimise losses by making adjustments to the strategic framework. When making decisions, we aim to tilt portfolios to reflect prevailing market conditions, but not in a way that would alter a strategy's risk profile fundamentally.

The final application is at the discretion of the respective fund management teams. In other words, we combine collegially-generated investment strategies with tailoring to meeting individual fund range or strategy objectives. As a result, all investors benefit from the disciplines of a centralised approach with the customisation required by the respective fund ranges and strategies.

We are active investors not just from an asset allocation perspective but also in terms of security and fund selection. As well as adding value through tactical asset allocation, we seek to add value through the process of selecting individual investments.

All fund managers have both portfolio and analytical responsibility and contribute to the investment selection process.

Our fund managers are supported by research teams dedicated to finding opportunities in equities, fixed income and diversifiers. Our research team is 20 strong with an average of 12 plus years of experience and is a valuable resource for our fund managers.

In line with our collegial approach, we hold regular research meetings to debate new investment ideas, confirm our investment selection and listen to the views of external specialists.

We have a proprietary risk and performance system which monitors adherence to risk profiles and provides analysis of the key attributes of portfolios as well as the sources of performance. In addition, we use a third party system to monitor compliance with regulatory fund management rules and limits.

We have created risk models with the assistance of Moody’s Analytics data. This enables us to:

  • Identify the optimum mix of asset classes
  • Match this optimal mix to standard risk profiles, for example conservative risk, balanced risk or growth risk profiles.
  • Achieve greater clarity over risk and return expectations

Our investment professionals work together in a close-knit environment, challenging each other’s views and sharing ideas and insights. With many years’ investment experience, they are all members of a wider team helping to drive optimal outcomes.

How we invest


We use intensive research to identify the strongest opportunities. We favour attractively priced, high-quality companies with an improving business profile and a track record of growing shareholder value. Our research team includes both dedicated analysts and fund managers all conducting fundamental research on our core ideas.

Fixed income

This may add a degree of certainty to a portfolio, by generating predictable cash flows with relatively low volatility. Our aim is always to grow wealth prudently over the long term, so we focus on finding safe, high-quality, liquid bonds. Typically these will be sovereign debt and high-grade corporate bonds in developed markets, though we may use our expertise to invest in higher risk bonds  including unrated bonds that have the potential to be upgraded, and index-linked securities to reduce inflation and interest rate risk.


Commercial property, infrastructure, commodities and absolute return investments may help to diversify risk within a portfolio, while offering the potential for enhanced returns that may be uncorrelated to traditional asset classes such as equities and bonds.

Active funds

We will use third-party funds where we do not have the appropriate in-house expertise, or where we deem it to be the most efficient or effective way to obtain the desired exposure, or where the investment remit requires them. Our fund manager research team identifies those funds which we believe to be the best in their sector or region, across all asset classes. Past performance must be in line with the fund’s approach and objectives. It must be clear how the manager has generated value in different market conditions.


Some strategies seek to fulfil the desired asset allocation cost effectively through the use of passive funds which seek to track an index, while such investments can also complement managed funds by efficiently providing exposure to various asset classes and geographic regions at a low cost. We look for investments that offer low cost, low variation to broader markets, low counterparty risk, and high liquidity.

Before you invest, make sure you feel comfortable with the level of risk you take. Investments aim to grow your money, but they might lose it too.