Research house Lonsec has awarded “Recommended” ratings to the Altius Bond Fund and the Altius Sustainable Bond Fund.
Both Funds seek to provide investors with regular income distributions while preserving capital. The Funds have the same benchmark and investment style; however, the Altius Sustainable Bond Fund also excludes companies from its investment universe if their primary business activity involves armaments, uranium, gambling, tobacco production, pornography, alcohol production, or production or sale of thermal coal.
The “Recommended” rating indicates that ““Lonsec has strong conviction the financial product can generate risk adjusted returns in line with relevant objectives. The financial product is considered an appropriate entry point to this asset class or strategy.”
In particular, Lonsec noted as strengths “the stability and experience of the team” and that the “Investment Advisory Board (IAC) adds value and weight to macro views”.
Lonsec also said in its review that: “The Funds seek to shift between cash and Australian bonds at various times during the cycle in an effort to protect capital. This product might be suited to investors who would like to effectively outsource the decision between cash and bonds to a fixed interest specialist or as an active satellite blended with a strategic allocation to defensive assets.
“Advisers should note the Manager has significantly greater leeway in duration positioning than more benchmark aware Australian Fixed Interest funds, so at times could outperform (or underperform) either Australian Bond funds or Australian Cash funds by a significant margin depending on its positioning.”
The review also commented on Altius’s joint venture with Australian Unity Investments:
“Similar to other boutique managers with institutional backing, Altius’ partnership with Australian Unity Investments provides it with a range of non-investment support services. This arrangement is beneficial for tightly run teams like Altius, allowing it to focus on core investment operations. Lonsec observes Australian Unity Investments adopts a ‘partner for life’ mentality, giving some comfort towards its commitment to the partnership.
“Despite being a boutique fund manager, Lonsec is pleased with the independent risk monitoring function performed by AUI. Lonsec believes post- trade compliance conducted by an external party can enhance the overall integrity of the process.”
Bill Bovingdon, chief executive officer of Altius, said that the rating underlines the role that bonds funds can play in investor portfolios.
“Investors continue to be concerned about how to generate yield and income in the current market environment, with volatility an ever-present issue.
“Well-managed, nimble bond funds have a useful role to play in helping create income throughout all market cycles.
“We are particularly pleased that Lonsec has recognised the flexibility of our approach to duration which is a key element of our investment philosophy,” Mr Bovingdon said.
Lonsec has also recently named the Altius Sustainable Bond Fund as a finalist in the innovation category of the Lonsec Awards. The winners will be announced as part of the 14th Annual Super Ratings Fund of Year Award being held on the 18th of October.