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Tailored for investment professionals this site provides information on our products, strategies and services. Please remember capital is at risk and past performance is not a guide to the future. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third parties. Such third party cookies may track your use of our website. By continuing you are confirming that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website. Please refer to our Cookie Policy for further information, including steps to take to disable cookies.

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Strategy Focus:
Investec Diversified Growth 

By: Michael Spinks & Philip Saunders, Co-Heads of Multi-Asset Growth

Late cycle opportunities

We recognise that we are in the late stages of the cycle with heightened risk from extended valuation in some areas but we do not see this as an impediment to future returns. Instead, we have an increasing number of positions with positive return expectations but more protective qualities in the event of a sell-off in Growth assets. As such, we added several new Defensive positions identified through our bottom-up analysis across government bonds, currencies and option strategies.

We believe that using our full investment toolkit is key in identifying new opportunities, achieving our objectives and balancing the portfolio. To this end, our positioning includes bottom-up focused baskets such as our holding in miners, relative value plays such as the Japanese yen versus Swiss franc position and short exposures such as the euro-zone inflation position. New additions include:

  • Australian, Canadian and UK government bonds which increased our duration.
  • A position which reflects our view that euro-zone inflation will disappoint relative to expectations.
  • Defensive short positions in Growth currencies such as the New Zealand dollar, Polish zloty and the Singaporean dollar.
  • Finally, we added options protection against an equity sell-off that covered around two-thirds of our equity exposure at purchase.

These changes reflect the dynamic allocation nature of the Strategy, which is designed to adapt to evolving market conditions.

Figure 1: Portfolio allocation changes by risk (%)

Source: Investec Asset Management, 30 September 2017.

Trade in focus: New Zealand dollar

According to our scorecard, the New Zealand dollar is one of the most overvalued currencies, while positioning in the currency is looking extended. These two aspects, combined with weakening economic fundamentals, led us to add a short New Zealand dollar position relative to its trade- weighted index (comprising the US dollar and Australian dollar), in the first half of August.

  • Valuation: we estimate that the currency is overvalued by around 4%. Central bank currency intervention is unlikely.
  • Fundamentals: the New Zealand economy is struggling; inflation is weaker and labour costs are stagnating.
  • Market price behaviour: Citiflows show it to be the most overweight G10-currency.

Figure 2: New Zealand inflation surprises turning down


Source: Bloomberg, Citigroup Global Markets Inc, 30 September 2017.

Why ESG matters to us

It is clear to us that incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into our investment process is in the long-term interests of our clients and wider society. Hence, we carefully consider how we integrate ESG for each asset class. We are making use of a number of proprietary tools including a portfolio ESG profiler and portfolio carbon profiler, to understand potential risks and exposure for our strategy.

We also engage with companies where we believe we can influence management for the benefit of stakeholder returns.

We decided to exclude the Brazilian miner Vale on ESG grounds

For example, within the mining sector, we decided to exclude the Brazilian miner Vale on ESG grounds. We based our decision on the future potential monetary impact from an environmental disaster in 2015 at a mine operated by a subsidiary of Vale. The serious nature of this disaster made it difficult to develop an accurate view on the valuation of the company.

In addition, we were concerned that the future performance of Vale could be affected by broader issues relating to Brazil rather than the investment case itself.

Key attributes of our Diversified Growth?

  • Aiming to help investors achieve real growth while limiting volatility.
  • Bottom-up investing across a broad range of opportunities.
  • Uses a consistent, tried and tested ‘Compelling ForcesTM’ investment approach.
  • Managed by a team that is well resourced and highly experienced.
  • A dynamic portfolio of Growth, Defensive and Uncorrelated assets.

We aim to provide our clients with diversified exposure to global Growth potential through investment in a broad range of assets.


Figure 3: Investec Diversified Growth (GBP Strategy) Performance

Discrete 5 year performance (%)
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
4.36 0.80 6.45 13.08 7.87

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results, losses may occur.

Source: Investec Asset Management, 30 September 2017. For further information on indices, investment process and performance targets, please see the Important Information section. Performance is gross of fees (returns will be reduced by management fees and other expenses incurred relative to its advisory account), income is reinvested, in GBP.
** Composite inception date 30 April 2008. *** MSCI World GBP Hedged, over 5 years.

Specific risks

Currency exchange: Changes in the relative values of different currencies may adversely affect the value of investments and any related income.
Default: There is a risk that the issuers of fixed income investments (e.g. bonds) may not be able to meet interest payments nor repay the money they have borrowed. The worse the credit quality of the issuer, the greater the risk of default and therefore investment loss.
Derivative counterparty: A counterparty to a derivative transaction may fail to meet its obligations thereby leading to financial loss.
Derivatives: The use of derivatives may increase overall risk by magnifying the effect of both gains and losses. This may lead to large changes in value and potentially large financial loss.
Developing market: Some countries may have less developed legal, political, economic and/or other systems. These markets carry a higher risk of financial loss than those in countries generally regarded as being more developed.
Interest rate: The value of fixed income investments (e.g. bonds) tends to decrease when interest rates and/or inflation rises.
Multi-asset investment: The portfolio is subject to possible financial losses in multiple markets and may underperform more focused portfolios.
Investing in China: Investment in mainland China may involve a higher risk of financial loss when compared with countries generally regarded as being more developed.


Important Information
The information may discuss general market activity or industry trends and is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice. The economic and market views presented herein reflect Investec Asset Management’s (‘Investec’) judgment as at the date shown and are subject to change without notice. The value of investments, and any income generated from them, can go down as well as up and will be affected by changes in interest rates, exchange rates, general market conditions and other political, social and economic developments, as well as by specific matters relating to the assets invested in.

There is no guarantee that views and opinions expressed will be correct, and Investec’s intentions to buy or sell particular securities in the future may change. The investment views, analysis and market opinions expressed may not reflect those of Investec as a whole, and different views may be expressed based on different investment objectives. Investec has prepared this communication based on internally developed data, public and third party sources. Although we believe the information obtained from public and third party sources to be reliable, we have not independently verified it, and we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Investec’s internal data may not be audited. Any decision to invest in securities or strategies described herein should be made after reviewing the prospectus and conducting such investigation as an investor deems necessary and consulting its own legal, accounting and tax advisors in order to make an independent determination of suitability and consequences of such an investment. This material does not purport to be a complete summary of all the risks associated with this Strategy. A description of risks associated with this Strategy can be found in the Prospectus or other disclosure document for the fund or Strategy. Copies of such documents are available free of charge upon request. Investec does not provide legal or tax advice. Prospective investors should consult their tax advisors before making tax-related investment decisions.

Investment Team
There is no assurance that the persons referenced herein will continue to be involved with investing for this Strategy or Fund, or that other persons not identified herein will become involved with investing assets for the Manager or assets of the Strategy or the Fund at any time without notice.

Investment Process
Any description or information regarding investment process or strategies is provided for illustrative purposes only, may not be fully indicative of any present or future investments and may be changed at the discretion of the manager without notice. References to specific investments, strategies or investment vehicles are for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon as a recommendation to purchase or sell such investments or to engage in any particular Strategy. Portfolio data is expected to change and there is no assurance that the actual portfolio will remain as described herein. There is no assurance that the investments presented will be available in the future at the levels presented, with the same characteristics or be available at all. Past performance is no guarantee of future results and has no bearing upon the ability of Manager to construct the illustrative portfolio and implement its investment strategy or investment objective.

Performance Target
The target is based on Manager’s good faith estimate of the likelihood of the performance of the asset class under current market conditions. There can be no assurances that any Strategy or Fund will generate such returns, that any client or investor will achieve comparable results or that the manager will be able to implement its investment strategy. Actual performance of investments and the Fund or Strategy overall may be adversely affected by a variety of factors, beyond the manager’s control, such as, political and socio-economic events, adverse changes in the interest rate environment, changes to investment expenses, and a lack of suitable investment opportunities. Accordingly, Performance Targets may be expected to change over time and may differ from previous reports.

Specific Portfolio Names
References to particular investment or strategies are for illustrative purposes only. Unless stated otherwise, the specific companies listed or discussed are included as representative of the Strategy or Strategies. Such references are not a complete list and other positions, strategies, or vehicles may experience results which differ, perhaps materially, from those presented herein due to different investment objectives, guidelines or market conditions. The securities or investment products mentioned in this document may not have been registered in any jurisdiction. More information is available upon request.

Indices are shown for illustrative purposes only, are unmanaged and do not take into account market conditions or the costs associated with investing. Further, the manager’s strategy may deploy investment techniques and instruments not used to generate Index performance. For this reason, the performance of the manager and the Indices are not directly comparable. 

If applicable MSCI data is sourced from MSCI Inc. MSCI makes no express or implied warranties or representations and shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to any MSCI data contained herein. The MSCI data may not be further redistributed or used as a basis for other indices or any securities or financial products. This report is not approved, endorsed, reviewed or produced by MSCI. None of the MSCI data is intended to constitute investment advice or a recommendation to make (or refrain from making) any kind of investment decision and may not be relied on as such.If applicable FTSE data is sourced from FTSE International Limited (‘FTSE’) © FTSE 2017. Please note a disclaimer applies to FTSE data and can be found at