ACUMEN PORTFOLIOS
March 2018 Performance

Manager Commentary

The S&P 500 suffered its first quarterly loss since 2015, as global trade concerns and the potential for heightened regulation of technology companies weighed on investor confidence. The technology sector has been the key driving force in this 9-year equity bull market. However, recent controversy surrounding Facebook’s ability to protect customer data triggered a sell-off in the ‘FAANG’ stocks – an acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. Since then, we’ve seen a mid-month rotation towards more defensive sectors such as utilities. In the UK, the FTSE 100 fell -2.42% taking first quarter losses to -8.21%, making it the worst performing major stock market. Our decision to reduce UK equities and underweight US tech stocks contributed positively to performance this month. 

In fixed income, the 10-year US Treasury yield fell -12bps to 2.74%. The sharp reversal in direction for bond yields countered earlier expectations for the 10-year note to break above 3% and came despite a 25bps rate rise from the US Federal Reserve. There is now just 47bps separating the 2 and 10-year US Treasury yields – its narrowest level since October 2007. The yield curve also flattened in the UK. The 2-year yield rose 4bps to 0.82% and the 10-year yield fell -15bps to 1.35%. Our curve-flattener trade continues to perform well since initiation in June last year. Notably, global corporate credit spreads widened this month – something we have been watching closely. We pre-emptively reduced our exposure to investment grade and high yield debt in early February. 

News that David Davis and Michel Barnier had agreed to a Brexit transition deal helped boost Sterling, as did the growing expectation for a Bank of England rate rise in May. The currency rose 1.85% against the US Dollar and is now up 3.72% since the beginning of the year. The US Dollar index fell -0.71%, down over -2% for the quarter, its fifth straight quarterly decline. 

In the commodity markets, Gold rose 0.48% to $1,324 per oz and WTI Oil rose 5.35% to $64.94 per barrel. The portfolios performed well this month versus their respective IA Sector and market composite benchmarks. Going in to the second quarter, we maintain our cautious preference for global equities, yet geopolitical risks remain high and increased volatility is likely to be the new normal.

ACUMEN Bond Portfolio

The ACUMEN Bond Portfolio (GBP) returned -0.04% in March. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Global Bond sector returned 0.66% and -0.70% respectively.

March 2018 Return

-0.04%

YTD

-1.35%

Rolling 1-Year Return

N/A

ACUMEN Conservative Portfolio

The ACUMEN Conservative Portfolio (GBP) returned -0.93% in March. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector returned -0.63% and -1.77% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of 0.50%.

March 2018 Return

-0.93%

YTD

-2.29%

Rolling 1-Year Return

0.50%

ACUMEN Income Portfolio

The ACUMEN Income Portfolio (GBP) returned -1.66% in March. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector returned -1.11% and -1.77% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of -0.46%.

March 2018 Return

-1.66%

YTD

-2.95%

Rolling 1-Year Return

-0.46%

ACUMEN Progressive Portfolio

The ACUMEN Progressive Portfolio (GBP) returned -1.66% in March. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector returned -1.11% and -1.77% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of -0.46%.

March 2018 Return

-2.10%

YTD

-3.38%

Rolling 1-Year Return

3.67%

ACUMEN Adventurous Portfolio

The ACUMEN Adventurous Portfolio (GBP) returned -2.56% in March. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Flexible Investment sector returned -2.24% and -3.03% respectively. The portfolio has a rolling 1-year return of 3.11%.

March 2018 Return

-2.56%

YTD

-4.08%

Rolling 1-Year Return

3.11%

ACUMEN Equity Portfolio

The ACUMEN Equity Portfolio (GBP) returned -3.06% in March. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Global sector returned -2.56% and -4.13% respectively.

March 2018 Return

-3.06%

YTD

-3.13%

Rolling 1-Year Return

N/A

ACUMEN Strategic Portfolio

The ACUMEN Strategic Portfolio (GBP) returned -2.07% in March. The Market Composite Benchmark and the IA Specialist sector returned -2.56% and -2.91% respectively.

March 2018 Return

-2.07%

YTD

-2.83%

Rolling 1-Year Return

N/A

The value of an investment in the Protection Portfolios, ACUMEN Portfolios or Tavistock PROFILES may fall as well as rise. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance. Source of data: Tavistock Wealth Limited, Thomson Reuters and Lipper for Investment Management unless otherwise stated.