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A Multi-Asset, macro-economic perspective

We continue to find new and interesting ways to invest in the energy transition as public market valuations have risen.
Published 1 May 2024   |   3 min watch

  • A consequence of a very strong equities market is that valuations begin to look toppy or risky

  • The underperformance of the resources sector has been coming for some time on the back of China's slow reemergence from COVID  

Full transcript

How would you characterise how we have been performing in the current market conditions? 

Current markets have been very supportive for returns over the last year. We're getting close to double digit returns in our High Growth and Balanced Fund.  

The year has really started off on a brisk note. At the beginning of the year we thought expectations for rate cuts and a positive economic environment could be supportive for risk assets. But really over the last quarter, the market has performed well. And that's seen us deliver above benchmark returns for the quarter*. 

Now valuations are looking expensive, how are we positioned and what does that look like going forward?

Yeah, so a consequence of a very strong market is that valuations begin to look toppy or risky, and that's evident in domestic equities and it's really evident in international equities, particularly in the Magnificent Seven.  

So what are we doing? We're taking an opportunity to diversify and add more defensive assets to our portfolio. One of the new exposures in our portfolio is in an infrastructure debt fund that we've done in partnership with another manager. It offers cash-plus returns for investing in areas like financing new batteries as part of the transition. So high single digit returns. But a different risk to the economical valuation risk that you take with traditional equities.  

There's been a rotation out of resources recently. Could you describe this and explain how it's played out?  

In a way it's been underway for a while. The Chinese economy has emerged from COVID in a different way to developed market peers, it was a slower reemergence. And we've seen with that resources have underperformed, particularly more recently. That has been a tailwind for our portfolios because we were not invested as much, particularly in those in those bulk materials like iron ore. 

With resources underperforming, there's an opportunity for us to invest in future energy scenarios. How are we going to take advantage of that? 

The recent underperformance in resources is giving us an opportunity to add metals positively exposed to the transition like lithium and copper to the portfolio at more attractive valuation. We take a broad approach to investing for the transition, including capital in VC (venture capital), late stage private equity through a new investment in Octopus Energy, and importantly, we're adding defensive exposures there; I mentioned before the infrastructure debt fund, investing in debt for batteries as well through this scenario. 

Portrait of John Woods

John Woods

Deputy Chief Investment Officer and Head of Multi Assets

* Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. We offer a diverse range of investment options depending on your investment objective, timeframe and risk profile. This is general information only and does not take account of your individual investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on it, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) available on our website here. 

Investing ethically and sustainably means that the investment universe will generally be more limited than non-ethical, non-sustainable portfolios in similar asset classes. This means that the portfolio(s) may not have exposure to specific assets which over or underperform over the investment cycle, and so the returns and volatility of the portfolio(s) may be higher or lower than non-ethical, non-sustainable portfolios over all investment time frames.

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