What happened this quarter (3 months to 31 March 2020)
The fund has a strong weighting to bonds, making up around half of the portfolio. Bonds had a strong first quarter of 2020 as central banks aggressively cut interest rates as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak brought global trade and growth to a near halt. Furthermore, government bonds saw strong demand as volatility levels hit unprecedented levels, making safe-haven assets, like government bonds, attractive.
In the US, the Federal Reserve cut the fed funds rate by 150 basis points over the quarter and announced a further $700 billion in quantitative easing. In New Zealand, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut the Official Cash Rate by 75 basis points to a record low 0.25%, citing a deteriorating outlook for the global economy. In addition, the central bank announced a quantitative easing programme for the first time, saying it would buy up to $30 billion in government bonds.
Against this backdrop of falling rates and growing uncertainty around the global economic outlook, bond funds outperformed most other funds over the quarter.
It was a different story for equity markets, which fell sharply as the coronavirus outbreak painted a bleak outlook for the global economy. Most global indices finished the quarter with double-digit losses. In the US, the S&P 500 fell 20% and the MSCI All World Country Index fell 20.4%, in local currency terms.
While we have seen unprecedented levels of fiscal stimulus to soften the blow, the short to medium-term outlook remains uncertain.
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How the fund has performed against its objective
The fund aims to achieve (after the fund charge and before tax) over the long term a modest yearly return allowing for modest movements of value up and down including occasional negative yearly returns.
The graph below shows the value of a $1,000 investment made at the time the fund launched. The blue line represents the actual value of the investment while the aqua line shows the level (fund objective) the fund aims to beat over the long term. When the blue line is higher than the aqua line, the performance is better than target.
The fund invests mainly in income assets (cash and cash equivalents and fixed interest), with a smaller exposure to growth assets (equities and listed property). The fund may also invest in alternative assets.
This chart shows the mix of assets that the fund generally intends to invest in.
See the fund's actual investment mix on page 3 of the Fund update.