161108-zenith-awards-cfsGeorge Walker, CFS; Quan Nguyen, Zenith; Lisa Rose, CFS. Photo: Matt Fatches

Category: Alternative strategies (commodity trading advisers/macro, multi-strategy, market-neutral, fund-of-hedge-fund, agribusiness, commodities, private equity, other)

Winner: Colonial First State/Aspect Capital

Analyst: Rodney Sebire

Sector overview:
The alternatives sector delivered mixed performance across a range of strategies, including high performance dispersion across managers within the same sub-category. With equity markets delivering muted returns and government bond yields grinding lower, the environment for posting outsized returns was challenging. Despite this, the managed futures sub-category enjoyed a sound period of performance, largely through long positioning in G10 bond markets and long US dollar exposures. In terms of the market neutral sector, all managers generated positive returns.

Zenith says …
The Aspect Diversified Futures Fund is managed by Aspect Capital (Aspect) and was formed by Michael Adam and Martin Lueck in 1997. Aspect applies a systematic, momentum-based investment strategy that is designed to identify trends across multiple markets and timeframes. Of the managed futures funds available, Aspect offers one of the highest exposures to trend-following, which is further complemented by a suite of modulating strategies that are designed to generate returns in range-bound environments and provide insulation against market reversals. Zenith believes a key strength of the fund is the quality and depth of the investment team and the firm’s “style fidelity” to pure trend-following.

Interview
George Walker
Head of investment sales
Colonial First State
Number one is selecting a partner like Aspect. It’s a relationship that’s been going on for seven years and having the right capability, the right people, to meet the needs of our customers and clients. We look at the market to understand where the pools of money are, and understand what our clients are demanding. We really make sure we take an understanding of what our clients are after, what they need to build their portfolios, and where the gaps exist. The reason this works is it’s a true partnership, leveraging the Colonial First State distribution capabilities. Seven years ago, when we launched this, there weren’t many funds of this nature in the market. Aspect has a strong history in the CTA management space. Its name was built in the AHL [Adam, Harding & Lueck, now part of Man Group] days, and we wanted to make sure we were partnering with someone who would stay true-to-label. They didn’t have any great presence in Australia, and they were looking for someone to do that for them.

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