Northstar SCI Global Flexible Fund- Jun 19
The Northstar Global Flexible Fund delivered a return of +3.95% for the 3 months to end-June 2019. The Fund’s composite benchmark, comprised of 60% MSCI World Index and 40% Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index returned +3.97%, while the average fund return in the Morningstar EEA USD Flexible category was +2.14%.
For the 12 months to end-June 2019 the Fund returned +10.93%, which compares favorably to the composite and peer group returns of +6.21% and +2.14% respectively, placing the Fund amongst the top 4% of Global Flexible funds over the period.
Despite negative global growth data, equities continued were they left off in the first quarter, rallying strongly in April (+3.6%), before taking a breather in May (-5.68%). The pause was short lived, however, as risk appetitive returned in June, after the Federal Reserve signaled a rate cut was likely at its July meeting. The MSCI World Index returned +6.63% in June to end the quarter +4.0% higher. The Financials (+6.43%), Information Technology (+5.91%) and Consumer Discretionary (+5.62%) sectors led the market, with Energy (-1.11%) Real Estate (+0.48%) and Health Care (+1.57%), lagging.
The US 10 Year Treasury yield continued its relentless march lower, declined a further 40 bps in the quarter to 2.00%, extending the rally from 3.24% in early-November. Global bonds, therefore enjoyed a strong quarter with the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index 3.9% higher.
Equity selection remains a key driver of returns. The Fund’s underlying equities delivered a return of 6.34% for the quarter, 221 bps ahead of the MSCI World Index. Blackstone Group (+28.1%), Walt Disney Co. (++25.7%) and LVMH Moet Hennessy (+17.1%) were the best performing holdings over the 3 months, with 138 bps, 100 bps and 71 bps of performance attributable to each respectively, taking account of the Fund’s weighting relative to the equity benchmark.
Cognizant Technology Solutions (-12.22%), British American Tobacco plc (-10.26%) and Philip Morris International (-9.84%) were the worst performing holdings, with the largest negative attribution coming from Alphabet Inc (-59bps), Philip Morris International (-49bps) and Reckitt Benckiser plc (-37bps).
Having increased the Fund’s allocation to equities in early January, we actively reduced exposure to the asset class during the quarter, taking account of the rally year-to-date and the meaningfully reduced intrinsic value discount of the Fund equity portfolio. Quarter-on-quarter, the equity exposure reduced from 68.01% to 62.96%.
Following a period of strong relative performance, we completed the switch out of British American Tobacco plc (BTI) into Phillip Morris in late-June. We initiated this action in October 2018 owing to a preference for Philip Morris’s stronger positioning in Next Generation Products (NGP) and on concerns over BTI’s greater exposure to US regulatory risk.
We increased the Fund’s exposure to Bonds from 14.38% to 19.53% during the quarter, remaining considerably underweight and short duration.
The portfolio's investment universe includes equity securities, government bonds, corporate bonds and inflation linked bonds, debentures, property securities, property related securities, interest bearing securities, preference shares, money market instruments and assets in liquid form. The portfolio may invest in participatory interests and other forms of participation in portfolios of collective investment schemes or other similar schemes operated in territories with a regulatory environment which is to the satisfaction of the manager and trustee of a sufficient standard to provide investor protection at least equivalent to that in South Africa and which is consistent with the portfolio's primary objective.