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Multi-asset fund makes the grade

Multi-asset specialist Tactica has made its debut into the UK retail market with a range of risk-graded Oeics, which invest directly in a range of asset classes and through investment funds. One of them is the the S&W Tactica growth portfolio.

Discussing Tactica, Charter Devon Law principal Michael Posner says: “The S&W Tactica growth portfolio is a new offering to the general market by John Ions, the former head of retail sales at Aberdeen Prolific, who joined Societe Generale Asset Management in 1997 as joint MD with Nicola Horlick.

“When Ions left SG in 2003, he indicated that he was not going to rush back into the markets and would take a bit of time out to enjoy the rugby. The amount of time that he took out was possibly a longer enjoyment of England’s World Cup success than most supporters, as he did not return until 2006, when he joined with Goldman Sachs in offering Tactica multi-asset funds to institutional investors.”

Posner adds that for the past two years Ions has been offering his multi-asset expertise to FTSE 100 pension funds. “He is now making the model he has created available to the general investor by offering three risk-rated actively managed multi-asset portfolios, of which the growth portfolio is one part of the offering,” he says.

Posner feels that Tactica differentiates multi-asset management from fund-of-fund, or multi-manager investments by stating that it is a natural progression from these funds and that the composition is dictated by risk. “For example, UK equities and US equities are a single risk style of investment and no differentiation would be made in the asset allocation. Naturally, fund choice remains relevant, but the broadly diversified nature of the multi-asset fund is stated to permit investors a lower risk of volatility than is to be found in the multi-manager or fund-of-funds model. The core ethos of this style of investment is the self-evident need to get the balance right and the essence of Tactica’s statements is that it has the expertise and is now making it generally available to the average investor.”

The growth portfolio is a diversified portfolio maximising the potential of a broad range of asset classes including global equities, fixed income, cash, commodities, currencies, property, private equity, and hedge funds. The funds are managed by Goldman Sachs International using a variety of models, data and sophisticated research processes.

“The funds are offered with the suggestion that they are either an actively managed holding in their own right, or as a core holding, with other specialist investments as satellite holdings. Bearing in mind the current market conditions of uncertainty, it is undoubtedly a sensible time to launch a series of funds that seek to limit the downside risk of market volatility. The growth portfolio has a stated volatility level of 9.5-10.5 per cent, which is acceptable given that this is the most adventurous of its fund offerings,” says Posner.

He adds that the charges appear reasonable given the level of activity and expertise required in the strategic allocation of the funds invested. He also feels that the literature available at launch is cogently set out, well presented and warrants consideration.

Turning to the less appealing aspects of the fund, Posner says: “There is little to dislike about this offering. Other than the fact that it is a new fund with only a simulated track record, there can be little to argue against its inclusion in a portfolio of investments..”

He regards the minimum investment level as a little high, but that it reflects the fact that this was originally an institutional fund.

Summing up, Posner says there are a number of multi-manager and fund-of-funds offerings that deserve equal consideration, but Tactica’s fund has a distinctive approach from an experienced manager and warrants attention.

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