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Australian Equities Fund

A portfolio of Australian businesses with transparent and resilient business models

December 2021 - Monthly REPORT

Topping up on "Hard Assets" to preserve purchasing power

SUMMARY

The Fund generated a positive return of 1.0% during December capping off a credible 12.4% return for the calendar year and comfortably exceeding its targeted return. By way of comparison, equity markets remained exuberant with a return by the Australian equity market of 2.5% and 16.5% for the 1 month and year respectively, highlighting our conservative positioning which, in hindsight, may have been too cautious. In particular, our Put Options position provided the ability to hold more equities with confidence but were not without a cost. We do not regret this investment and regard them as a useful tool in achieving our target of consistent returns.

PORTFOLIO

Top Holdings (alphabetically)

Amcor PLC
Australia
Materials
Aristocrat Leisure
Australia
Consumer Discretionary
Credit Corp
Australia
Financials
CSL
Australia
Health Care
Evolution Mining
Australia
Materials
Mirvac Group Property Trust
Australia
Real Estate
NAB
Australia
Financials
ResMed
Australia
Health Care
Super Retail Group
Australia
Consumer Discretionary
Telstra
Australia
Communication Services

Sector Breakdown

Capitalisation Breakdown

Country Breakdown

Custom Sector Breakdown

PERFORMANCE

Performance Table

NET PERFORMANCE FOR PERIODS ENDING 31 Dec 20211
1 MTH 1 YEAR 3 YEARS P.A. 5 YEARS P.A. 10 YEARS P.A. SINCE INCEPTION P.A.
Australian Equities Fund 1% 12.3% 12.7% 7.3% 10.4% 10%
Fund Objective: RBA Cash Rate plus 6% 0.5% 6.1% 6.5% 6.9% 7.7% 8.4%
ASX Accumulation All Ordinaries Index 2.7% 17.7% 14.8% 10.4% 11% 7.2%

Swipe horizontally to see all columns

Performance Chart

NET PERFORMANCE SINCE INCEPTION2

COMMENTARY

We remain focussed on walking the tightrope between preserving capital and generating a return in an investment environment dominated by growth at any price, lofty valuations and what appears to be an overly sanguine view on the outlook for both inflation and interest rates. For some time we have shared our view on the likely impact of higher interest rates on the back of sharply higher inflation percolating its way through global economies.

In simple terms investors seeking to preserve the purchasing power of their money are facing a dilemma arising from the following conundrums:

  1. “Hiding” in cash leaves one vulnerable to the impact of inflation purchasing power erosion without any compensation from yield.
  2. Interest rates need to be sharply higher given the current negative real returns on offer from cash deposits and most government bonds.
  3. Long duration assets are worth less if/when the cost of money (interest rates) go up, leaving most asset classes exposed at these valuation levels. The potential for retracement has been exaggerated by decades of low interest rates, translating into ever higher asset prices – BTD (“Buy The Dip”).
  4. The enormous transfer of wealth from governments globally to the private sector (not to mention the transfer of wealth from future generations due to the stimulus-induced borrowings by Central Banks) has supported consumer spending and savings. There is a lot of money around.
  5. “Hard assets” – defined as companies with inelastic demand and pricing power – offer protection against inflation. These are hard to find and even rarer at reasonable valuations.

In summary, we think both inflation and higher interest rates are coming. Our conviction, while high, will rise further should the US Federal Reserve start the ball rolling as raising interest rates in isolation leaves any country which chooses to go early vulnerable to a stronger currency.

For some time the Fund’s holdings have been focussed on companies that demonstrate the characteristics of “hard assets”.  Several significant examples include;

Telstra – This continues to be our largest holding in the portfolio. We are attracted by the calibre of its mobile phone network, scale, sustainable pricing premium as well as the benefits arising from scale, and a head start on the 5G rollout over its competitors. In addition to mobile data demand being remarkably inelastic (try depriving anyone of their mobile data these days) we anticipate that the majority of the network infrastructure investments are sunk costs, implying large operating leverage effect should inflation manifest itself in pricing. Another differentiator not well appreciated is the CPI linked nature of the recurring revenues from the NBN for the rental of Telstra’s wired infrastructure. With regards to valuation, our analysis highlights the large favourable gap between historic depreciation and current maintenance capital expenditure, substantially boosting our after-tax cash earnings yield from our investment.

Amcor – one of our new holdings, the company is a global packaging group, with a well-diversified range of products servicing a range of consumer products including food and medical products. The company has significant scale to facilitate sophisticated long term contracts that pass through higher input costs while simultaneously investing in R&D as an essential service n providing sustainable packaging to its global customers. Management have demonstrated their competence through the consistent earnings growth in spite of a volatile operating environment and large acquisition, providing confidence that its geographically diversified factories will be resilient in our anticipated economic environment.

Health Insurers: Medibank and NIB Holdings – Both listed health insurers are well run providers of domestic health insurance. There are several favourable industry dynamics including: a) the risk equalisation levy sharply reduces underwriting risk, b) existing government incentives for the public to become policyholders and c) industry-wide initiatives on reducing claims costs gaining traction. In addition, both companies have large pools of both Shareholder and policyholder funds currently significantly underearning due to the low interest rate environment. A return to a higher interest rate environment should be an enormous boost to the return on equity for shareholders.

PERFORMANCE TABLE

FUND PERFORMANCE (A$, NET OF FEES)
Year Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun FUND FYTD RBA CASH RATE FYTD ASX ALL ORDS FYTD
2021/2022 0.3%3%-0.4%-1.1%-0.6%1%-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%

2022/2023

Jul 6.4%
Aug -0.1%
Sep -6.1%
Oct 2.7%
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun

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

STATISTICAL DATA

PORTFOLIO SUMMARY
VOLATILITY3
11.2%
NUMBER OF STOCKS
29
BETA4
0.63
MAXIMUM DRAW DOWN
-23.1%

FEATURES

  • APIR CODE PCL0005AU
  • REDEMPTION PRICEA$ 2.0486
  • FEES * Management Fee: 1.025%
    Performance Fee: 10.25%
  • Minimum initial investment A$10,000
  • FUM AT MONTH END A$ 958.4m
  • 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

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Axiom International Ethical Fund (Hedged)
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High Conviction Property Securities Fund
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Global Small Companies Fund
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WHEB Sustainable Impact Fund
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Emerging Companies Fund
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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

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.