RPT-Fitch: Recent asset class re-correlation challenges multi-asset funds on the downside

Thu Jul 4, 2013 4:37am EDT

July 4 (Reuters) - (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Fitch Ratings says that multi-asset funds have recently suffered from asset re-correlation in its H113 multi-asset fund dashboard and peer-group analysis.

For the first time in three years, equity/bond correlations are positive in falling markets. Fitch expects multi-asset funds to increasingly have to use cash, short duration assets or derivative hedging, as there is no obvious place to hide in the transition to less accommodative monetary policies. As the transition is unlikely to be a smooth process, multi-asset fund managers will also be challenged in their ability to adjust portfolios without excessive churning.

In the past 12 months, multi-asset fund performance has primarily been driven by market liquidity, supported by ECB president Draghi's July 2012 speech and stimulus measures from the US Federal Reserve. When concerns emerged in mid-May that the Federal Reserve would reduce market support, it is no surprise that markets returned to a 'risk-off' phase. Global multi-asset funds have suffered relatively more than European focused funds, the former being more exposed to those assets driven by USD liquidity, in particular US high yield, currencies and emerging market debt.

Multi-asset funds have attracted considerable flows in 2013 to May, totalling EUR22bn, much greater than 2012 inflows of EUR4bn. Flexible funds, those whose allocation is solely at the manager's discretion, attracted the majority of inflows in 2013, totalling approximately EUR11bn.

Fitch's fund sector research is designed for fund investors and intermediaries, combining a summarised overview of a fund sector's developments with fund peer group data. It is part of Fitch's on-going commitment to fund research and ratings. Fitch's fund peer groups include best-selling funds, best performers and largest funds as well as Fitch's rated funds, domiciled in Europe and classified as cross-border.

Fitch's Fund Quality Ratings combine Fitch's experience in qualitative fund analysis with rankings and performance data from Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company. Fitch's Fund Quality Ratings offer an independent, forward-looking assessment of a fund's key performance and risk attributes and consistency of longer-term returns, relative to peer group or benchmarks. The ratings focus on the fund manager's investment process, key fund performance drivers, risk management, and the quality of the fund's operational infrastructure.

Link to Fitch Ratings' Report: European Multi-Asset Funds Dashboard H113

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