The more eagled-eye among you may have spotted the recent unveiling of the shortlists for the 2017 Professional Adviser Awards was light a number of categories and, whether or not you did notice, we should still explain the absence - until now - of those firms and funds in the running for recognition for their multi-asset expertise.
The truth is, here on Professional Adviser - and very possibly putting us in a similar boat to a number of our readers - we found ourselves caught between two stools. Should we consider the multi-asset universe the way many have always done and slice-and-dice by Investment Association (IA) sector? Or should we follow the example of many others and look to offer a number of awards based on investment outcomes?
In the end, we decided to follow the example of foreign secretary Boris Johnson who famously said: "My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it" - in other words, we will be running four awards categories that correspond to the IA sectors and four that relate to popular investment outcomes. We will then digest your thoughts and opinions on this approach before deciding if we need to finesse things further in a year's time.
In arriving at the following names, Professional Adviser is deeply grateful to Christopher Krantz at Morningstar for crunching the numbers that form the basis of the sector-based ‘Best Multi-Asset Group' shortlists and to Paul Ilott of Scopic Research for his work on the outcome-oriented ‘Best Multi-Asset Fund' categories. The methodologies involved in both are outlined in more detail below.
All the adviser and provider winners of the Professional Adviser Awards will be declared at a black-tie ceremony at The Brewery in London on the evening of 9 February 2017. You can find out more details about the evening or book your table here
|Best Multi-Asset Group: Mixed Investment 0-35% Shares|
|Legal & General|
|Best Multi-Asset Group: Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares|
|Allianz Global Investors|
|Best Multi-Asset Group: Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares|
|Best Multi-Asset Group: Flexible Investment|
|Best Multi-Asset Fund: Rising Income|
|AXA Global Distribution|
|Fidelity Multi-Asset Income & Growth|
|HSBC Global Open Distribution|
|MI Hawksmoor Distribution|
|Schroder MM Diversity Income|
|TB Wise Income|
|Best Multi-Asset Fund: Positive Return|
|Architas Diversified Real Assets|
|CF Ruffer Total Return|
|SVS Church House Tenax Absolute Return Strategy|
|Best Multi-Asset Fund: Long-Term Growth|
|CF Miton Worldwide Opportunities|
|HSBC Global Open Return|
|Investec Cautious Managed|
|MI Hawksmoor Vanbrugh Fund|
|Premier Multi-Asset Global Growth|
|TB Wise Investment|
|Best Multi-Asset Funds: Volatility Target|
|Architas Multi Asset Passive Funds|
|L&G Multi-Index Funds|
|Premier Liberation Funds|
|SVS Cornelian (Risk Managed) Funds|
Best Multi-Asset Group awards methodology
Each Best Multi-Asset Group shortlist features the six asset managers that emerged at the top of Morningstar's analysis of the relevant IA sector - with the provisos that 1) Morningstar has their KIID Ongoing Charge or Max Management Fee at less than 1.5% (1.75% for the Flexible sector) and 2) they should have received a ‘Positive' or ‘Neutral' rating on the data provider's ‘Parent' fund pillar.
This component of the Morningstar Analyst Rating considers the tone set by management for elements including capacity management, risk management, recruitment and retention of talent, and incentive pay, as well as whether firms have a culture of stewardship that puts investors first or one heavily weighted to salesmanship.
Initial analysis considered all Mixed Investment 0-35% Shares, Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares, Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares and Flexible sector funds with a track record of three years or greater at 30 September 2016. Funds in each sector were grouped by company to create an asset-weighted average return for the firm and then ranked by annualised return over the three years to 30 September 2016. All figured were in sterling.
Best Multi-Asset Fund awards methodology
Created by Scopic Research, the four Best Multi-Asset Fund categories are based upon investment outcomes and each may contain funds from a number of different IA sectors. Delivering the investment outcome and meeting the fund's own objectives in the most risk-efficient manner is the key to being selected.
* Rising Income: These funds must exhibit strong commitment to delivering a progressively rising stream of income - generally starting at around 3% per annum net in today's market. Distributions are typically delivered on a quarterly or more frequent basis. Having ‘income' in the fund title or income simply being a by-product of the investment process is not sufficient.
* Positive Return: These funds seek to generate positive returns and typically aim to match or beat returns from a benchmark that also has a positive return profile. The timeframe to achieve the benchmark ‘target return' is generally longer than for an ‘absolute return' type fund - typically three years.
* Long-Term Growth: These funds are typically managed to long-term investment horizons by managers who may be more tolerant of periods of underperformance. They may therefore exhibit deeper drawdowns and suffer from higher volatility when compared with funds that are assigned to other categories.
* Volatility Target: Rather than single funds, these are suites of funds run by a single asset manager that expect to deliver their returns within specified volatility boundaries or up to a specified volatility ceiling. Typically, each fund in the suite is distinguished by having a different tolerance to volatility. Simply being 'risk-rated' is not sufficient.
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