Meeting Challenge of Market Evolution; WEALTH AND INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Friday, March 22, 2013 AN EIGHT--PAGE COMMERCIAL SUPPLEMENT

The Journal (Newcastle, England), March 22, 2013 | Go to article overview

Meeting Challenge of Market Evolution; WEALTH AND INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Friday, March 22, 2013 AN EIGHT--PAGE COMMERCIAL SUPPLEMENT


Byline: Charles Nicholson

THINK Personal is Sanlam Private Investment's slogan and neatly sums up the service we provide our clients.

So how, in an environment of increased regulation that increasingly pushes companies towards generic solutions, does Sanlam Private Investments provide a bespoke solution that achieves clients' particular requirements? We have a simple philosophy which combines two elements: a truly personal service allied to a disciplined and rigorous approach to investment management.

Our starting point will always be a strong asset allocation process which is benchmark aware not benchmark driven. As a consequence, while we look to grow our clients' wealth in the good times, we place at least equal emphasis on ensuring a high level of security in more difficult times.

The asset allocation process is supported by a team identifying specific investment opportunities, whether they are UK or international equities, bonds, open-ended funds, investment trusts or alternative investments.

Not all of these ideas will be right for every client and so the role of our investment managers is to ensure that every investment in each client's portfolio can be justified in terms of achieving that client's long-term objectives.

We also recognise that the markets continually evolve and that assets that generated attractive returns in the past might not in future. We therefore actively look for and utilise new products as they become available.

Markets The past six months have been rich with contrast. On the one hand, October's busy earnings season had a tendency to disappoint through a combination of weak global consumer spending, stuttering economic growth and low business confidence. On the other, vigorous central bank action and a steady stream of positive political news flow has driven sentiment in the opposite direction.

Equity markets initially took their cues from a divergent earnings season. Companies heavily exposed to business or consumer spending suffered for the most part. The opposite can be said of global financial stocks. The majority of the long-suffering banks managed to post earnings ahead of low expectations. Previously conservative valuations suddenly looked attractive, expectations for profitability increased and bank-bashing rhetoric began to wane. Financial shares accordingly posted strong gains, not least due to an ever more favourable regulatory backdrop.

President Obama's re-election was undoubtedly the main political event for the period. Initially, some of the more bearish commentators were vindicated in their stance that an Obama victory would be negative for equities, with markets initially drifting on the announcement. Given that the Republicans retained a majority in the House of Representatives, concerns heightened over Obama's ability to negotiate terms for key deals needed to avert the fiscal cliff.

Political momentum continued later in November, as renegotiated terms for the latest chapter in the Greek bailout saga were welcomed by the market. The latest deal includes a reduction on interest payable on loans, an extension on the repayment of the second bailout and an ECB commitment to return any gains made on Greek sovereign bonds back to Athens. Investors exposed to Greek assets reaped plentiful rewards over the quarter, as the Greek 10-year yield fell over seven percentage points from 19.5% to 11.9%, and the Athens Stock Exchange index posted gains of nearly 23%.

Meanwhile, leading indicators in the two largest global economies were supportive for the risk-on investor. The HSBC Chinese Flash PMI moved back gently into expansionary territory for the first time in 13 months, buoyed by stronger than expected production growth. …

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