The year in review. There was no shortage of events that had the potential to impactmarkets during 2016. The year started off as one of the worst on record with marketsdown around 10% by around February as concerns around a slowdown in China and the global economy in general combined with high valuations impacted markets. Markets shook off this initial wobble as it became evident that central banks wouldremain accommodative to stimulate growth. As a consequence we saw bond yieldsfall to historically low levels during the course of the year and in some countries to theunprecedented situation of negative interest rates. In Australia, we saw the RBA’s official cash rate drop to a record low of 1.50%.
Given a low-yield environment the year was generally characterised by “yield assets” such as property and infrastructure or “quality growth” companies with stable andpredictable cash flows (think health care stocks) doing well for the first part of the year. This saw the valuations of these assets bid-up to over-valued levels, until however in the latter part of the year, the prospects of higher inflation saw these assets sell off quite heavily in September through to November.
Political events also played their part in markets during the year, with the uncertainty of these events generally weighing on market sentiment until the results were known. Most notably we saw the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. While the resultcame as a surprise to many, markets initially reacted unfavourably only to recover justa few days later. In the latter part of the year the US election was the main preoccupation with a surprise Trump victory and an even more surprising positive market reaction on the basis that a Trump administration might be more positive from aninfrastructure and tax-reform perspective that have the potential to be moreinflationary.
Despite a generally positive outcome across major asset classes for the year, diversification across asset classes remains an important part of any investment strategy. We face 2017 with many issues from 2016 still unresolved (e.g. Brexit), theuncertainty (both positive or negative) of an incoming Trump administration and further political uncertainty from a number of elections in Europe as populism movements get tested in those regions. Given the binary outcomes of some of theseevents it has the potential to be very negative or positive for markets therefore diversification remains as appropriate as ever.
The InvestSMART Conservative Portfolio returned 4.6% for the year, buoyed by its overweight to Australian equities. Exposures to Australian REITs also contributed positively to performance as did the exposure to the Macquarie Income Opportunities Fund within fixed interest, which returned 4.1% for the year when Australian bonds returned 2.9% generally.
The portfolio continues to track ahead of its Cash 1% objective, being ahead of its objective by 1.9% for the year and 1.3% since inception.
Growth of $10,000
Asset Allocation as at 31 DECEMBER 2016
Source: Praemium, RBA
Returns are before expenses and fees. Returns are shown as annualised if the period is over 1 year. * Since Inception (SI) date is 29 December 2014.
The investment objective is to achieve a return of 1% above the RBA Cash rate perannum over three year rolling periods by investing in a diverse mix of asset classes covering Australian equities, international equities, property, infrastructure, alternatives, fixed interest and cash.
|PERFORMANCE TO 31 DECEMBER 2016||1 MONTH||3 MONTH||6 MONTH||1 YEAR||SI* (P.A.)|
|InvestSMART Conservative Portfolio||1.71%||1.25%||3.01%||4.64%||4.30%|
|Morningstar Multisector Moderate Index||1.39%||0.28%||1.64%||5.28%||4.62%|
|Excess to Benchmark||0.33%||0.97%||1.36%||-0.64%||-0.32%|
|RBA Cash Rate 1%||0.21%||0.63%||1.29%||2.77%||2.96%|
|Excess to Objective||1.50%||0.62%||1.72%||1.87%||1.34%|
Peformance Summary to 31 December 2016
Contribution to Return 1 Month to 31 December 2016
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