NAV on 2020/07/31
|NAV on 2020/07/30
|52 week high on 2019/10/24
|52 week low on 2020/03/24
|Total Expense Ratio on 2020/03/31
|Total Expense Ratio (performance fee) on
Marriott Unit Trust Management Company Ltd.
South African--Multi Asset--Flexible
50% All Share index; 25%SAPY; 20%ALBI; 5%SteF
Marriott Asset Management
All asset management decisions are made together with the Marriott Investment Committee using an income-focused approach to investing.
Marriott Essential Income comment - Dec 19
On the 31st of December 2019 stock markets around the world closed out one of their best years over the past decade. After ticking up 0.3% on the final trading day of the year, the S&P 500 index gained approximately 30% in 2019, its best year since 2013, beating the FTSE All-World index, which was up 24% in US dollars for its strongest result since 2009. These good returns were almost inconceivable just 12 months ago when fears over rising interest rates and slowing global growth provoked an approximate 15% market sell off of US blue-chips in the final month of 2018. Come the beginning of 2019, many money managers were predicting a full blown global recession.
Fortunately, these fears proved overblown primarily as a result of one of the most notable monetary policy pivots in recent memory – according to data from CBRates (a central-bank tracking service), 56 central banks cut rates 129 times in 2019. Monetary policy was loosened in major economies such as the U.S. and the Eurozone, as well as the biggest emerging markets, such as China, India, Russia and Brazil.
This monetary easing, which was the opposite to what economists anticipated at the start of 2019, pushed interest rate expectations significantly lower — a shift that prompted a positive re-pricing of asset classes across the board. This included SA equities which gained 12% during the year primarily on the back of good returns from the resource sector (up 23%) and media giant Naspers (up 16%). As resource stocks and Naspers do not produce reliable, growing dividends, the Essential Income Fund has no exposure to these companies which detracted from the fund’s capital growth in 2019. However, from an income perspective (the primary focus of the fund) the weighted average dividend growth produced by the SA stocks in the portfolio (approximately 40% exposure) was 6.8% for the year, well ahead of inflation. This pleasing result can be attributed to a high allocation to quality equities in defensive industries. From a property perspective (an approximate 30% weighting), we have also been very selective, only investing in REITs with first-class property portfolios, reasonable debt levels and good corporate governance. The weighted average income growth produced by the SA property stocks in the portfolio was 5.4% for 2019 - a credible result considering the headwinds facing the sector.
Aided by a diminishing supply of bonds globally offering decent yields, SA bonds performed well (SA All Bond Index up 10%) in 2019. Twenty years ago, well over half of the global bond market boasted yields in excess of 5%. Today, that proportion has reduced to 3% - the lowest share on record (according to ICE Data Indices). The current yield of the SA government 15 year bond (fund exposure of 22%) is approximately 9.5% — an attractive level of income considering inflation is currently running below 4%.
Due to elevated levels of market volatility we have hedges in place on 40% of the growth assets in the portfolio to provide downside protection of approximately 20% whilst still affording upside participation of approximately 17%. All derivatives are vanilla instruments listed on the South African Futures Exchange (Safex), the futures exchange subsidiary of JSE Limited.
In summary, the Essential Income Fund is currently yielding above 6% with an annual income growth expectation in the region of 4 -6%. This makes the fund an ideal solution for retired investors looking to draw a high level of sustainable, inflation hedged income from their investments.
The Marriott Essential Income Fund has as its primary objective to provide a high level of reliable income for investors and to grow this income in line with inflation over time. The secondary consideration is growth in capital in line with inflation over time. To achieve this objective the fund will invest, apart from liquid assets, in a blend of equities, REITS, collective investment schemes in property, bonds and money market instruments. The portfolio will maintain a minimum equity exposure of 25% and a combined minimum exposure to REITS and collective investment schemes in property of 15%.