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Diversity that delivers no nasty surprises



    Typically, the various assets are uncorrelated so that volatility in the bond market is offset by stability in equities and vice versa.

    Multi-asset funds have become popular in large part because they make advisers’ lives easier – they outsource much of the investment challenge of how much to put into any type of asset class.

    There are four varieties of multi-asset, each with a different exposure to equities, determining how risk-tolerant the client might be. So for the really adventurous, the equity component might be up to 85 per cent, while for the cautious it is more likely to be no more than 35 per cent.

    The investment industry had to make this distinction a few years ago, when the allocation to equities inadvertently became out of kilter with the risk profile of the fund.

    The funds across all the sectors have performed respectably over the past three years, increasing between 20 per cent and over 40 per cent. They have more or less tracked the FTSE 100 in terms of the biggest peaks and troughs of the stock market, but without the same extremes, or ultimately the same returns.

    They have, therefore, performed more or less as they should have done.

    Multi-asset funds are at their best when nothing too exciting happens; they should weather the challenges of changing governments, debt crises and deflationary pressures. For many they are the entry investment product, and are expected to remain popular for some time to come.

    Hal Austin is editor of Financial Adviser

    In this special report


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