Fund Return 2022-2023

Fund return to 31st August 2022

Fund

Performance

 

1 month

Scheme Year to Date

1 Year

 

 

 

CERS Multi Asset Fund

-1.3%

-0.5%

-1.6%

CERS Bond Fund

-9.7%

-5.7%

-27.4%

CERS Cash Fund

0.0%

-0.2%

-1.0%

CERS Equity Fund

-2.6%

-1.9%

-7.5%

CERS Property Fund

0.0%

2.3%

7.1%

CERS Alternative Asset Fund

0.5%

-0.8%

3.3%


Investment Commentary

Provided by Mercer - CERS Investment Adviser

Market Developments

Equities sold off in the second half of August. Poor economic data and the Federal Reserve reasserting that monetary policy will be tighter for longer were the catalysts for the move downward. Investors had been hoping for a slowdown in monetary tightening following a lower than expected inflation reading, but this appears less likely following hawkish speeches at the annual symposium in Jackson Hole. Emerging markets proved to be a diversifier this month, providing small gains when the MSCI ACWI was down by 3.7%.

Bond returns were also negative as duration assets reacted negatively to renewed yield pressure. Credit spreads, however, were somewhat insulated from this month’s events with high yield spreads rising 15 bps, while investment-grade spreads declined 3 bps.

Commodities indices were nearly flat as spot prices declined, especially oil. However, natural gas continued to increase as Europe and the UK continued to scramble to build reserves before winter. Grain supplies started to flow again from Ukraine, although this was offset by the ongoing drought in the northern hemisphere and its expected impact on harvests.

US inflation fell by more than expected in July, but UK and Eurozone inflation remained on the rise because of the region’s exposure to high natural gas prices. Many major central banks in developed and emerging countries increased rates again with the notable exceptions of China and Japan.

Attention shifted temporarily from the Ukraine conflict to Taiwan where visits by US government officials led to Chinese military exercises around the island and renewed concerns about military action over the island’s status.

The US dollar rally continued over the month with notable appreciation against major developed market and some emerging market currencies. It was supported by the Federal Reserve reasserting its commitment to tighter policy for longer as well as energy importing countries needing dollars for increasingly expensive energy purchases in their scramble to bolster strategic reserves before winter.

Outlook

Global equities returned -20% for the first half of the year (as measured by MSCI World TR Index), and the S&P 500 saw it’s worst H1 total return performance in 60 years. The decline in equities thus far this year has largely been driven by rising bond yields rather than any significant deterioration in equity fundamentals. Therefore, this has begun to make global equity valuations across all sub-sectors look more attractive.

However, there are also downside risks; earnings forecasts remain optimistic which may require revisions if a slowdown takes effect and a quarter of investors see a global recession as the biggest tail risk (BOA Fund Manager Survey 2022). Overall, although valuations are now considerably more attractive, the unfavourable macroeconomic backdrop and sentiment informs our decision to remain neutral on global equities.

Within that neutral global outlook, we have a slight preference for small caps where, alongside attractive valuations, a soft landing scenario would produce more upside than the other equity sub-sectors due to the cyclical nature of the asset class. The prospects for equities as a whole remain uncertain and growth and inflation data over the coming months will determine whether a shift to a higher conviction view is merited.

Returns for bonds and credit were also negative in H1 2022 as markets reacted to accelerating monetary tightening and rising yields. US 10-year Treasury bonds recorded their worst H1 since 1788. Credit spreads also widened for both investment and non-investment grade during H1.

In light of our base case expectations for a soft landing for the economy, we are increasingly finding credit markets to be more attractive, though again variations between debt subsectors are significant. We remain relatively more positive on investment grade credit but with high yield spreads widening, we believe this could become an attractive opportunity in the next three to six months, once some uncertainty in the economic outlook subsides. Whilst the rise in sovereign bond yields has changed their relative attractiveness, we favour credit over sovereign bonds due to our outlook.


Notes

Scheme Year to date performance is the period from 1 June 2022 to the most recent month shown.

  • 1 Year performance is the cumulative performance of the last 12 months to the most recent month shown.
  • Multi Asset Fund performance assumes no lifestyling.
  • Performance shown is net of annual management charge.
  • The investment choices offered by the Trustee will be regularly reviewed and may be varied from time to time.

Before you choose a fund we recommend that you speak to a financial adviser. The CERS Trustee preferred financial adviser is Milestone Advisory DAC. You can contact them or your own financial adviser to assist you to review your investment choices. You can contact Milestone Advisory DAC via the website (www.milestoneadvisory.ie), by post: Linden House, 4 Clonskeagh Square, Clonskeagh Road, Dublin 14, D14 FH90, by email (info@milestoneadvisory.ie), or by phone (01) 4068020. Milestone Advisory DAC t/a Milestone Advisory is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

If you require further information please contact the CERS Team at info@cers.ie

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