161108-zenith-awards-russellAndrew Sneddon, Russell Investments. Photo: Matt Fatches

Category: Multi-asset – diversified

Winner: Russell Investments

Analyst: Andrew Yap

Sector overview:
Against the backdrop of heightened volatility, with regular intervention from global central authorities, the diversified sector has continued to deliver consistent returns. While generally anchored to a Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA), these funds have benefitted from maintaining higher allocations to the Australian and global bond sectors, relative to their unconstrained counterparts (i.e. real return sector). At a time where return expectations across a range of asset classes are supressed, Zenith believes that investors have once again been drawn to those strategies that have a greater emphasis on asset allocation as an avenue through which portfolio outcomes may be enhanced. With advancements also noted in the areas of implementation techniques and risk management practices, the sector remains well positioned to navigate an ever dynamic and complex set of market conditions.

Zenith says…
Russell Investment Management (Russell) offers a range of actively managed, SAA-centric multi-asset strategies. Positioned to provide investors with exposure across a range of asset classes and investment strategies, Russell adheres to an active approach to investment management and portfolio construction. Notwithstanding a recent change in corporate ownership, Zenith continues to view Russell as one of the global leaders in the multi-asset arena. Elevated levels of conviction remain testament to our assessment of Russell’s strong local leadership, globally resourced team, scalable investment process and multi-faceted risk framework.

Andrew Sneddon
Managing director, multi-asset portfolios
Russell Investments
We’re fortunate enough to have won this award before, and been finalists in a couple of years, and what’s led us to be there or thereabouts pretty consistently year after year are three things. First, we’ve got an active multi-asset process that has proven to be very robust over different market environments [and] very consistent in delivering strong outcomes for our clients. The second thing that’s important is we’re in global markets and I have the benefit of being able to harness Russell’s global team of more than 200 investment professionals and hand off my activity to traders overnight to get things done for our multi-asset portfolios. So that 24/7 coverage is quite critical, and that’s where Russell’s global footprint makes my life easier. Thirdly, and I’ve been in this industry for the better part of 20 years now, and I think that for a lot of the period in the late 90s, early 2000s you could go quite a long way to meeting client objectives with more static portfolios and arguably maybe less diversification as well. I think what’s really marked success for active multi-asset portfolios in the post-2008 environment has been a dynamism, and this is where again I have the ability to draw on Russell’s 24/7 trading desk – which I should say trades as a fiduciary – to help us dynamically adjust the portfolios. It’s that willingness to adjust the portfolio for not what’s been before, but what’s coming next, that has stood us in good stead year after year on that journey as well.

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