We are pleased to report that since it became clearer six months ago that the economic cycle was normalising and a global recovery was underway, the Fund has generated a +20% return, outperforming the broader market by around 2%. We believe this has been achieved by taking only moderate and manageable risks, as we have discussed in previous Investment Reports.
While the Australian equity market continues to post strong monthly returns, fragilities are starting to emerge as equity and bond markets are in the midst of trying to work out whether:
1. There is a strong global economic recovery occurring or whether delays in vaccine rollouts or second or third wave COVID-19 strains will cause delays;
2. The Fed is serious about not intervening in the rapidly rising bond yield situation and if inflation will actually arrive and;
3. The easy monetary conditions of the past few years has led to inherent risk taking that is now threatening to unwind, starting with the first major hedge fund and finance house bankruptcies, even while we are in the midst of a bull market.
Informed by our observations, mostly from our interactions with individual companies, we believe that an economic recovery is coming led by improving demand. But it won’t be pervasive and may well see long delays for some sectors. It is also likely that there has been excess risk built up in a system of easy money and an effective “Fed Put” having been assumed by markets for many years. We see central banks as having little choice but to continue to preach no intervention lest they inadvertently and prematurely overturn a fragile restoration of growth.
Full Report attached
The tragic human rights situation currently unfolding in Myanmar holds particular significance to our Sustainability Analyst Georgina. Please read Georgie’s poignant thoughts on her visit to the camp, our expectations on our portfolio companies in regard to Myanmar, and why Ethical Partners has recently signed on to the Investor Statement on Human Rights and Business Activities in Myanmar.
As members of the Investor Group on Climate Change, Ethical Partners Funds Management strongly endorses its new roadmap released today in conjunction with the CDP and the Principles for Responsible Investment. It is entitled: "Confusion to clarity: A plan for mandatory TCFD-aligned disclosure in Australia".
During May 2021 the Fund returned 1.56% versus the S&P/ASX 300 Accumulation Index of 2.31%, underperforming the market by -0.75%. An underweight position in IT and an overweight position in Westpac contributed to relative performance while an overweight position in Consumer Staples and an underweight position in CBA detracted from relative performance.