To deliver on these ambitions, Netwealth’s investment process has three distinct parts, with ongoing risk management an integral component of each one:
Strategic Allocation Review
We review the strategic allocations periodically, and have recently adjusted the composition of the sterling-denominated portfolio range to ensure they reflect the investment team’s latest thinking.
Our strategic allocations leave the majority of international equity exposure unhedged from a currency perspective, allowing the portfolios to benefit from the diversification that such positions often bring, not least when the base currency of a portfolio goes through a period of stress.
Consequently, since the Netwealth sterling portfolios were launched in May 2016, portfolio performance has benefited from the weakening of the domestic currency throughout the period. However, as part of our strategic review in August, we recognised that the valuation argument in favour of holding more exposure to the pound on a strategic basis has become more compelling, and as such we have raised the allocations accordingly, at the expense of US dollar exposure.
Source: BIS, Bloomberg
Note: nominal EERs are calculated as geometric weighted averages of bilateral exchange rates. Real EERs are the same weighted averages of bilateral exchange rates adjusted by relative consumer prices. The weighting pattern is time varying and can be found on http://www.bis.org/statistics/eer.htm.
Note that this does not preclude us from making cyclical adjustments to portfolios if macro and market conditions necessitate such action. It seems likely that sterling will continue to be buffeted by political and economic events. However, on a strategic basis, the balance of risks have changed, given how much cheaper sterling has become. We understand that a sustained strengthening of the pound would hinder overall portfolio returns, due to the translation of unhedged international asset prices. While this is not our base case expectation, we have taken action to dampen exposure to this risk factor in future.