M&G is to undertake a major rebranding of its multi-asset range, realigning it for RDR and launching its new Episode Defensive Fund.
Included in the Episode Multi Asset range, the defensive portfolio will be managed by Eric Lonergan, who will invest in assets which he considers to be mis-priced due to a specific market “episode”.
Lonergan has the flexibility to take long and short positions across equities, fixed interest, cash and other asset classes, including property – the portfolio’s neutral position is 100% in cash. The fund must have a minimum of 70% in sterling assets, or investments hedged back to sterling.
The rebrand will see the Steven Andrew’s M&G Income Multi Asset Fund renamed as Episode Income Fund; Cautious Multi Asset Fund (run by Juan Nevado and Tony Funding) will become Episode Balanced Fund; M&G Managed Fund (Jenny Rodgers and Juan Nevado) will become Episode Growth Fund; and Macro Episode Fund (Dave Fishwick and Eric Lonergan) will change to Episode Macro Fund.
Andrew Watson, head of advisory and partnerships at M&G, said: “Clients told us they liked the approach employed by the Multi Asset team but wanted it tailored to a range of risk appetites. We designed the fund range to give advisers access to the team’s asset allocation process, regardless of the investment objectives and risk profile of their client.”
While Episode Defensive is designed to be the lowest risk fund in range, Episode Macro has the most flexibility, targeting higher-than-equity returns with lower-than-equity volatility over the medium term.
Episode Income, Balanced and Growth are flexible long-only funds with set allocation ranges for their exposure to equities, fixed interest, cash and other asset classes including property and convertibles. The fund managers have freedom to alter the funds’ asset breakdown as market valuations change but must keep their exposure within the bounds of their respective IMA sectors.
M&G’s changes come after a busy few months in the multi-asset space, including a similar realignment from Investec Asset Management.
Watson believes M&G’s dynamic aspect, combined with this common valuation strategy developed by Fishwick and his team stands out as a competitive edge.
He added: “The funds have follow the common valuation strategy that Dave and the team have built over the course of the past decade which we believe is fairly unique and, in our experience, a lot these multi-asset type strategies in the market are not necessarily as dynamic as people say they are in terms of how rapidly they change.”
“The core of this team has worked together for 30-years plus and it is the same team that evolved out of the Prudential Life Fund, which has a track record of more than 10 years.”
The launch date of Episode Defensive Fund, and the full costs associated with the entire range have yet to be disclosed.