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Australian Equities Fund

A portfolio of Australian businesses with transparent and resilient business models

January 2024 - Monthly REPORT

Navigating volatility to produce a positive start to the year

SUMMARY

The Fund generated a +2.4% return in January.  By way of comparison, the Australian stock market rose by 1.1%, whilst the return of the RBA cash rate plus 6% equated to approximately +0.9% for the month. Financial year to date, the Fund has achieved a return of +6.9%, ahead of the cash plus 6% benchmark of +5.9% for the 7 months, and compared to the market’s growth of 9.1% over the same period.

Whilst the headline market return was positive for January, intra month trading was significantly more volatile, with the index having declined by over 2.3% mid month, before rallying in the last 2 weeks to close up 1%. Encouragingly, despite the initial challenging trading conditions, the Fund’s resilience prevailed, remaining in positive territory throughout, whilst still participating in the month end rally to outperform both the market and the cash plus 6% benchmark for the period.

PORTFOLIO

Top Holdings (alphabetically)

BHP Group Ltd
Australia
Materials
BHP Group Limited operates as a mining company. The Company engages in the exploration, development, production, and processing of iron ore, metallurgical coal, and copper. BHP Group serves customers worldwide.
Contact Energy Ltd
New Zealand
Utilities
Contact Energy Ltd. engages in electricity generation business. It operates through the following segments: Wholesale, Customer, and Unallocated. The Wholesale segment includes revenue from the sale of electricity to the wholesale electricity market, to Commercial & Industrial (C&I) customers and to the customer segment. The Customer segment refers to the revenue from delivering energy to customers less the cost of purchasing energy; and costs to service and distribute energy to customers. The Unallocated segment includes corporate functions not directly allocated to the operating segments, and contacts share of earnings from associates and joint ventures. The company was founded on November 8, 1995 and is headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand.
CSL Ltd
Australia
Health Care
CSL Limited develops, manufactures and markets human pharmaceutical and diagnostic products derived from human plasma. The Company's products include pediatric and adult vaccines, infection, pain medicine, skin disorder remedies, antivenoms, anticoagulants, and immunoglobulins.
Medibank Pvt Ltd
Australia
Financials
Medibank Private Limited offers private health care coverage for hospital and ancillary services. The Company offers a range of health insurance products such as health, travel, pet, and life coverage to overseas students and visitors. Medibank serves customers throughout Australia.
National Australia Bank Ltd
Australia
Financials
National Australia Bank Limited (NAB) provides banking financial solutions. The Company offers internet banking, accounts, insurance, credit cards, home loans, and personal loans. NAB serves customers in Australia.
nib holdings Ltd/Australia
Australia
Financials
NIB Holdings Ltd. offers health insurance products. Depending on the specific product, the Company covers ambulance costs; and reimburses for costs not covered by Medicare including dental, optical, physiotherapy and natural therapies; and some hospitalization costs.
ResMed Inc
Australia
Health Care
ResMed Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets medical equipment for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing. The Company sells diagnostic and treatment devices in various countries through its subsidiaries and independent distributors.
SG Fleet Group Ltd
Australia
Industrials
SG Fleet Group Ltd provides vehicle leasing and fleet management services. The Company offers its services to corporate and government customers and individual employees of those customers.
Telstra Group Ltd
Australia
Communication Services
Telstra Corporation Limited is a full service domestic and international telecommunications provider for Australia. The Company provides telephone exchange lines to homes and businesses, supplying local, long distance and international telephone calls and supplying mobile telecommunications services. Telstra also provides data, internet, on-line services and directory services.
Woolworths Group Ltd
Australia
Consumer Staples
Woolworths Group Limited offers retail operations. The Company operates general merchandise consumer stores and supermarkets, as well as engages in procurement of food, liquor, and products. Woolworths Group also provides hotels which includes pubs, food, accommodation, and gaming operations. Woolworths Group serves customers in Australia and New Zealand.

Sector Breakdown

Capitalisation Breakdown

Country Breakdown

Custom Sector Breakdown

PERFORMANCE

Performance Table

NET PERFORMANCE FOR PERIODS ENDING 31 Jan 20241
1 MTH 1 YEAR 3 YEARS P.A. 5 YEARS P.A. 10 YEARS P.A. SINCE INCEPTION P.A.
Australian Equities Fund 2.4% 7.4% 4.7% 7.2% 6.6% 8.7%
Fund Objective: RBA Cash Rate plus 6% 0.9% 9.9% 7.9% 7.4% 7.6% 8.4%
ASX Accumulation All Ordinaries Index 1.1% 7.3% 9.2% 10.0% 8.6% 6.9%

Swipe horizontally to see all columns

Performance Chart

NET PERFORMANCE SINCE INCEPTION2

COMMENTARY

The market started January on the back foot, with a sense of consolidation following consecutive strong months at the end of calendar 2023.  A 6% fall in iron ore prices weighed on the index heavy materials space resulting in a somewhat rare (in recent times at least) period of underperformance from that sector during the month. A sharp re-pricing of Fed expectations provided stimulus from offshore – with current expectations for seven cuts to the Fed Funds rate by 1Q25 significantly higher than just two anticipated 3 months ago.  Over the last 3 months, the yield on the US 10 year has declined by 100bps providing broad based tailwinds for equity investors.  Domestically, inflation surprised on the downside, with headline CPI of 3.4% in December, moderating from the November print of 4.3%. The Australian market has now risen by over 13% in the last 3 months to close at all time highs.

Notable contributions to the Fund’s performance during the month came from Resmed and NIB Insurance – two stocks that were a drag on performance in the first half of the fiscal year, but where we have been rewarded for maintaining our conviction.  CSL was another solid contributor, having now almost fully recovered its losses from June 2023.  The banks were strong contributors to the markets performance and the Fund benefited via its holdings in NAB and CBA.  Detractors included Evolution Mining, which disappointingly reported ongoing operational issues at their Red Lake mine in Canada, and BHP following a decline in iron ore prices.  The Fund added to positions in Amcor ahead of its generally positive update in early February and Stockland Group and took profits following strength across a broad range of stocks including Super Retail Group, SG Fleet, NIB Insurance, and Credit Corp.

We continue to believe that the Fund is well positioned to navigate the existing volatility and deliver on our objectives of cash plus 6% in the medium term, given its defensive positioning, solid balance sheets and focus on businesses generating cash now. Despite the overall strength in markets in recent months, by month end the portfolio was generating a cash yield of 6.6% for FY25 – which is to say if the companies we are invested in meet our forecasts, they will in aggregate generate an incremental 6.6% of the portfolio’s value in free cash over the next 12 months. Together with earnings growth, capital returns, and potential for valuation uplift, this cash yield underpins our medium term investment objectives.

Thematically, whilst the headlines have been trending down, we expect inflation to continue to percolate through the global economy.  Inflation may have peaked however we expect it to remain elevated and therefore see little scope for rate relief in the medium term.  From a valuation perspective, this environment typically favours portfolios whose valuation is predominately focused on current earnings and cash flows (such as this Fund), as opposed to those whose valuations are more dependent on future earnings and cash flows.  Our cash balance remains healthy and ready to deploy when future opportunities present.

As we enter corporate earnings season, we remain as focused as ever on our primary objectives of capital preservation and generating a reasonable real return for our investors.  We continue to believe this is best served by a disciplined approach and consistent investment methodology. A variety of good businesses run by honest and competent management teams at the right price will create a well-diversified portfolio of ever-growing cash earnings streams.

PERFORMANCE TABLE

FUND PERFORMANCE (A$, NET OF FEES)
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)
Year Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun FUND FYTD RBA CASH RATE FYTD ASX ALL ORDS FYTD
2023/2024 3.3%-0.7%-3.7%-3.3%3.9%5.1%2.4%6.9%2.5%9.1%
2022/2023 6.4%-0.1%-6.1%2.7%3%-2.3%6.1%-1.2%0%2.7%-2.3%1.2%10%2.9%14.8%
2021/2022 0.3%3%-0.4%-1.1%-0.6%1%-6.7%1.3%1.9%-0.6%-3%-7%-12%0.2%-7.4%
2020/2021 1.5%2%-2%1.5%10.2%2.3%-0.9%0.3%3.1%3.6%2.6%1.1%27.7%0.2%30.2%
2019/2020 3.2%0.6%1.4%-0.5%3.5%-3.3%2.3%-3.5%-19.5%8.5%6.2%0.1%-3.9%0.7%-7.2%
2018/2019 1.3%3.4%-2.5%-8%-1.6%-2%2.4%3.4%-1.1%2.9%4.9%1.2%3.6%1.5%11%
2017/2018 0.6%1%0.1%1.9%3.2%0.1%1.5%-1.3%-3%-0%2.5%1.5%8.1%1.5%13.7%
2016/2017 6.1%2.3%0.3%-3%-0.3%3.4%-0.8%0.7%1.8%1.7%-4.7%2.7%10.2%1.5%13.1%
2015/2016 3.3%-4.2%-0.6%4.1%3.4%0.2%-1.8%-3.2%3.1%0.7%4.6%-1.6%7.7%2%2%
2014/2015 1.9%1.5%-2.4%2.5%0%1.4%2.6%4%1.3%-1.7%1.1%-3.5%8.9%2.4%5.7%
2013/2014 2%2.3%1.4%2.3%-1.2%1.3%-2%1.4%-0.4%1.2%1.5%-1%9.1%2.5%17.6%
2012/2013 2.9%2.5%0.2%2.4%2.8%1.8%5.2%4.4%0%3.5%-1.3%-2.5%24%3.1%20.7%
2011/2012 -3.1%1.4%-2.4%4.7%-2.4%1%2.9%3.6%4.2%0.7%-1.1%-1.1%8.3%4.4%-7%
2010/2011 5.1%1.1%3.6%1.8%-0.1%3%0.7%1.5%1%0%-0.8%-0.5%17.4%4.7%12.2%
2009/2010 3.5%6.1%3.8%1.2%1%2.5%-3.6%1.1%3.6%-0.2%-4%-2.5%12.5%3.7%13.8%
2008/2009 -1%3.5%-4.7%-9%-5.3%3.9%0.2%-1.4%7.9%4.4%2.1%3.8%3%4.8%-22.1%

2023/2024

Jul 3.3%
Aug -0.7%
Sep -3.7%
Oct -3.3%
Nov 3.9%
Dec 5.1%
Jan 2.4%

2022/2023

Jul 6.4%
Aug -0.1%
Sep -6.1%
Oct 2.7%
Nov 3%
Dec -2.3%
Jan 6.1%
Feb -1.2%
Mar 0%
Apr 2.7%
May -2.3%
Jun 1.2%
FUND FYTD 10%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 2.9%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 14.8%

2021/2022

Jul 0.3%
Aug 3%
Sep -0.4%
Oct -1.1%
Nov -0.6%
Dec 1%
Jan -6.7%
Feb 1.3%
Mar 1.9%
Apr -0.6%
May -3%
Jun -7%
FUND FYTD -12%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 0.2%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD -7.4%

2020/2021

Jul 1.5%
Sep -2%
Oct 1.5%
Nov 10.2%
Dec 2.3%
Jan -0.9%
Feb 0.3%
Mar 3.1%
Apr 3.6%
May 2.6%
Aug 2%
Jun 1.1%
FUND FYTD 27.7%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 0.2%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 30.2%

2019/2020

Jul 3.2%
Aug 0.6%
Sep 1.4%
Oct -0.5%
Nov 3.5%
Dec -3.3%
Jan 2.3%
Feb -3.5%
Apr 8.5%
Mar -19.5%
May 6.2%
Jun 0.1%
FUND FYTD -3.9%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 0.7%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD -7.2%

2018/2019

Jul 1.3%
Aug 3.4%
Sep -2.5%
Oct -8%
Nov -1.6%
Dec -2%
Jan 2.4%
Feb 3.4%
Mar -1.1%
Apr 2.9%
May 4.9%
Jun 1.2%
FUND FYTD 3.6%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 1.5%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 11%

2017/2018

Jul 0.6%
Aug 1%
Sep 0.1%
Oct 1.9%
Nov 3.2%
Dec 0.1%
Jan 1.5%
Feb -1.3%
Mar -3%
Apr -0%
May 2.5%
Jun 1.5%
FUND FYTD 8.1%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 1.5%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 13.7%

2016/2017

Jul 6.1%
Aug 2.3%
Sep 0.3%
Oct -3%
Nov -0.3%
Dec 3.4%
Jan -0.8%
Feb 0.7%
Mar 1.8%
Apr 1.7%
May -4.7%
Jun 2.7%
FUND FYTD 10.2%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 1.5%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 13.1%

2015/2016

Jul 3.3%
Aug -4.2%
Sep -0.6%
Oct 4.1%
Nov 3.4%
Dec 0.2%
Jan -1.8%
Feb -3.2%
Mar 3.1%
Apr 0.7%
May 4.6%
Jun -1.6%
FUND FYTD 7.7%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 2%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 2%

2014/2015

Jul 1.9%
Aug 1.5%
Sep -2.4%
Oct 2.5%
Nov 0%
Dec 1.4%
Jan 2.6%
Feb 4%
Mar 1.3%
Apr -1.7%
May 1.1%
Jun -3.5%
FUND FYTD 8.9%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 2.4%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 5.7%

2013/2014

Jul 2%
Aug 2.3%
Sep 1.4%
Oct 2.3%
Nov -1.2%
Dec 1.3%
Jan -2%
Feb 1.4%
Mar -0.4%
Apr 1.2%
May 1.5%
Jun -1%
FUND FYTD 9.1%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 2.5%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 17.6%

2012/2013

Jul 2.9%
Aug 2.5%
Sep 0.2%
Oct 2.4%
Nov 2.8%
Dec 1.8%
Jan 5.2%
Feb 4.4%
Mar 0%
Apr 3.5%
May -1.3%
Jun -2.5%
FUND FYTD 24%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 3.1%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 20.7%

2011/2012

Jul -3.1%
Aug 1.4%
Sep -2.4%
Oct 4.7%
Nov -2.4%
Dec 1%
Jan 2.9%
Feb 3.6%
Mar 4.2%
Apr 0.7%
May -1.1%
Jun -1.1%
FUND FYTD 8.3%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 4.4%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD -7%

2010/2011

Jul 5.1%
Aug 1.1%
Sep 3.6%
Oct 1.8%
Nov -0.1%
Dec 3%
Jan 0.7%
Feb 1.5%
Mar 1%
Apr 0%
May -0.8%
Jun -0.5%
FUND FYTD 17.4%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 4.7%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 12.2%

2009/2010

Jul 3.5%
Aug 6.1%
Sep 3.8%
Oct 1.2%
Nov 1%
Dec 2.5%
Jan -3.6%
Feb 1.1%
Mar 3.6%
Apr -0.2%
May -4%
Jun -2.5%
FUND FYTD 12.5%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 3.7%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD 13.8%

2008/2009

Jul -1%
Aug 3.5%
Sep -4.7%
Oct -9%
Nov -5.3%
Dec 3.9%
Jan 0.2%
Feb -1.4%
Mar 7.9%
Apr 4.4%
May 2.1%
Jun 3.8%
FUND FYTD 3%
RBA CASH RATE FYTD 4.8%
ASX ALL ORDS FYTD -22.1%

PROFILE

  • AMP MyNorth
  • Asgard Element (Masterfund)
  • Asgard – E Wrap, Master Trust, Infinity
  • AET Wholesale Access Fund
  • BT Panorama
  • BT Wrap
  • Colonial First Choice
  • Centric IDPS
  • First Wrap
  • FNZ
  • HUB24
  • IOOF Pursuit
  • IOOF
  • Macquarie Wrap
  • MLC Wrap
  • Mason Stevens
  • Navigator
  • Netwealth
  • OneVue
  • Omniport(lifespan)
  • Powerwrap
  • Praemium
  • uXchange

STATISTICAL DATA

PORTFOLIO SUMMARY
VOLATILITY3
11.5%
NUMBER OF STOCKS
24
BETA4
0.63
MAXIMUM DRAW DOWN
-23.1%

FEATURES

  • APIR CODE PCL0005AU
  • REDEMPTION PRICEA$ 1.8175
  • FEES * Management Fee: 1.025%
    Performance Fee: 10.25%
  • Minimum initial investment A$10,000
  • FUM AT MONTH END A$ 618.61m
  • STRATEGY INCEPTION DATE 1 July 2008
  • BenchmarkThe RBA Cash Rate Target plus Australian equity risk premium.

Fund Managers

Rhett Kessler

CIO and Senior Fund Manager

Anton du Preez

Deputy CIO and Fund Manager

Description

The Pengana Australian Equities Fund aims to enhance and preserve investor wealth over a 5- year period via a concentrated core portfolio of principally Australian listed securities. The Fund uses fundamental research to evaluate investments capable of generating the target return over the medium term. Essentially, we are in the business of seeking to preserve capital and make money – we are not in the business of trying to beat the market. We remain focused on acquiring and holding investments that offer predictable, sustainable and well-stewarded after-tax cash earnings yields in excess of 6% that will grow to double digit levels as a percentage of our original entry price in five years. We believe that building a well-diversified portfolio of these “gifts that keep on giving” represents a meaningful way to create and preserve financial independence for our co-investors.

EXPLORE OUR FUNDS

Harding Loevner International Fund
Harding Loevner International Fund
Axiom International Ethical Fund
Axiom International Ethical Fund
Axiom International Ethical Fund (Hedged)
Axiom International Ethical Fund (Hedged)
Australian Equities Fund
Australian Equities Fund
High Conviction Property Securities Fund
High Conviction Property Securities Fund
Global Small Companies Fund
Global Small Companies Fund
WHEB Sustainable Impact Fund
WHEB Sustainable Impact Fund
Emerging Companies Fund
Emerging Companies Fund
High Conviction Equities Fund
High Conviction Equities Fund
Pengana International Equities Limited (ASX: PIA)
Pengana International Equities Limited (ASX: PIA)
Private Equity Trust (ASX: PE1)
Private Equity Trust (ASX: PE1)
Alpha Israel Fund
Alpha Israel Fund
Pengana Diversified Private Credit Fund
Pengana Diversified Private Credit Fund

1. Net performance figures are shown after all fees and expenses, and assume reinvestment of distributions. The benchmark of cash rate plus 6% p.a. is included in the chart as it relates to the Fund’s investment objective and performance fee.  The Fund may invest up to 100% of its assets in equity securities.  The greater risk of investing in equities is reflected in the addition of a margin above the cash rate. No allowance has been made for buy/sell spreads. Please refer to the PDS for information regarding risks. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance, the value of investments can go up and down.
2. Inception 1st July 2008.
3. Annualised standard deviation since inception.
4. Relative to ASX All Ordinaries Index. Using daily returns.
*(including GST, net of RITC) of the increase in net asset value subject to the RBA Cash Rate & High Water Mark. For further information regarding fees please see the PDS available on our website.