Investment returns (before tax and fees) for the quarter ending 31 March 2021 are:
The returns for Funds with shares in them (Growth and Balanced) achieved solid results, particularly over the last 12 months. The run up in share prices over the quarter reflected increasing optimism with regards to the economic outlook, largely due to the progress of the vaccine rollout and the fact that some governments (and their central banks) announced ongoing support for the economy (this optimism was in spite of the varying COVID statuses around the world). The 12 month returns cover the period after the significant sell off that occurred in the March 2020 quarter. The OECD* and IMF** both increased their respective global growth forecasts in the quarter. However, as the growth outlook improved some investors became concerned about inflation and or interest rates in the future, and therefore longer term interest rates rose (i.e. bond prices fell). This held back overall returns but led to falls in the quarter for the Income Fund. With interest rates at lows and elevated share prices we remain cautiously invested (that said we should continue to benefit from any further improvement in the growth outlook).
*The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. Their goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all.
** The International Monetary Fund (IMF) promotes international financial stability and monetary cooperation. It also facilitates international trade, promotes employment and sustainable economic growth, and helps to reduce global poverty.