Multi-manager alternatives from City Asset Management

Elite CAM cautious discretionary portfolio and Elite CAM balanced discretionary portfolio are versions of the firm’s risk-graded bespoke cautious and balanced portfolios, targeting 2 per cent and 4 per cent above inflation respectively.

They are run on a multi-asset basis by the same team, headed by CAM’s Research Director James Calder, and will use the same investment process as the existing bespoke portfolios.

Calder was head of multi-manager at Barings before he joined City Asset Management in 2009. He was previously Head of Fund Research at Berry Asset Management and senior fund research analyst at Bestinvest, so has been analysing funds across different asset classes for much of his career.

The funds were developed to allow investors with smaller amounts from £1,000 the same level of diversification as wealthier investors who can afford to invest in bespoke discretionary portfolios. They will invest in a range of asset classes, including cash, bonds, equities, property, commodities and alternative asset classes. The mix of assets in the portfolios depends on what is most suitable for market conditions at the time.

CAM says investors want to maintain the value of their money rather than see it eroded over time by inflation. It believes no one fund manager or asset class can outperform at all times during the economic cycle. The firm says that investing in a single asset class may maximise returns at any given time, but also maximises risk if market conditions change.

It can be difficult to find past performance information for discretionary portfolios and Calder’s tenure at Barings was brief, having been made redundant early in 2009 when the firm decided to close its multi-manager range.

However, his experience in analysing funds not only as a multi-manager, but also from the other side of the fence with IFA firm Bestinvest, may stir interest in these funds from some advisers.