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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Schroders Will Unveil U.S. Version of Multi-Asset Fund

Reported by Anastasia Donde

Schroders filed an application with the SEC this week to launch a U.S. '40 Act version of its Global Multi-Asset Income Fund. A Luxembourg domiciled version of this fund was launched in April of 2012 for European investors and has since grown to as much as $4.2 billion in assets. The fund returned 14.9 percent since inception and has a target return of 5 percent per year.

The fund's strategy involves actively allocating between global stocks and bonds, asset- and mortgage-backed securities, cash and alternative asset classes indirectly through ETFs, REITs or derivatives. It also has the flexibility to implement active currency positions through currency forwards or other instruments, according to fund documents.

The strategy is a part of the firm's Miulti-Asset Investments and Portfolio Solutions Group. Nico Marais, who heads up the group from London, has been working on building unconstrained diversified portfolios for clients that are more goal-oriented than asset-allocation-based and where the products can tactically change positions based on market opportunities.

Marais' group manages $80 billion and has been one of the fastest growing at the firm. "We don't look at asset classes, we look at the risk premium," Marais said, explaining that he has as many as 45 people focused on studying risk. He also has two separate groups working on volatility forecasts.

There are about 100 people in Marais team right now. That number has doubled in the past three years and he is currently interviewing for more investment and client service positions in New York. "We're looking for very senior investment strategists that can engage with clients, as well as portfolio solutions people and client-facing portfolio managers," he said.

The multi-asset class group uses internal strategies at Schroders, as well as external asset managers. The firm is also working on building hedge fund replication strategies that it can bring to the U.S. market. "We want to package them and give them to investors at a quarter of the fee," Marais explained. He said these should be launched in America very soon. "The U.S. is definitely a priority for us," he added.

Schroders, which manages $435.4 billion globally, has $54 billion in assets in the U.S. and is looking to double that figure in the next three years or so, according to Karl Dasher, chief executive officer for North America and Co-Head of Fixed-Income, who spoke at Schroders' media breakfast this week.  

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