By Jayson Forrest - Managing Editor - IMAP Perspectives
Piers Bolger - CIO Infinity Asset Management
Experience counts at Infinity
By his own admission, winning the IMAP Managed Account Award for the Multi Asset category is a “big deal” for Infinity Asset Management, says its Chief Investment Officer, Piers Bolger.
“As multi asset encompasses all the asset classes, you’re not only looking at the ability to be able to manage individual asset classes in the context of a portfolio framework, but also how you then bring that altogether to deliver a holistic outcome for the client. It’s a challenging asset class to get right,” says Piers.
“That’s because you’re looking at the financial markets, you’re looking at your asset allocation, you’re looking at the dynamic nature of the way you manage that asset allocation, you’re looking at your manager selection and blending of those managers, and finally, you’re also looking at the way you manage assets internally, like Australian equities, in terms of how all of that fits into an overall portfolio.
“So, we view this award as a great achievement because it ties together all the things that we strive to do in a single outcome. To be recognised from an industry perspective is a wonderful accomplishment.”
Our core view is if you manage risk better, the returns will look after themselves. That’s the premise by which we build our strategies around
Infinity Asset Management is the investment management business of Viridian Financial Group, which took out the 2019 IMAP Managed Account Award for the Licensee Managed Account category.
Infinity offers licensed financial advisers exposure to an institutional grade investment solution across 12 managed account portfolios comprising three different strategies: diversified portfolios, sector portfolios, and direct Australian equities portfolios.
As the business’ Chief Investment Officer, Piers oversees a stable and experienced portfolio management team, which has over 80 years collective experience building client portfolios. According to Piers, the team’s focus is on delivering portfolio solutions based on a robust investment and asset allocation process with true investment insights overlaid with a strong emphasis on risk management.
However, with financial markets being dynamic, Piers says the team is cognisant of two aspects of portfolio management, which underpins Infinity’s approach to investing: the changing nature of financial markets, and risk management.
“Our core view is if you manage risk better, the returns will look after themselves. That’s the premise by which we build our strategies around,” Piers says. “So, our investment portfolios are constructed from the perspective of managing risk and mitigating against the loss of invested capital.”
The actual investment process at Infinity Asset Management is something the business has been doing for some time. It starts with its analysis of capital markets, which forms its forward-looking assessment of financial markets and individual asset classes. From there, it builds out its asset allocation strategy relative to its view around capital markets, as well as being aware of the current financial market conditions.
“We link that to the objectives of the underlying strategy that we’re managing to, in order for us to have a ‘base line’ view of what the asset allocation and portfolio may look like,” Piers says. “This forms the basis of our decision-making process at Infinity.
“So, if we’re managing the money internally, we’ll do that, however, if we’re utilising external managers, we’ll also have the overlay of selecting managers that we believe can deliver to the objectives of the strategy based upon our view on markets.”
Piers adds this is an iterative process, where modelling is done around manager selection and potential configurations, in line with changes in market conditions and Infinity’s updated capital markets forecasts.
If we’re managing the money internally, we’ll do that, however, if we’re utilising external managers, we’ll also have the overlay of selecting managers that we believe can deliver to the objectives of the strategy based upon our view on markets
Overall, Piers is happy with Infinity’s investment process, but adds that the business continues to enhance the way in which it manages its portfolios.
“For example, as a functionality of Bloomberg’s Portfolio and Risk Analytics solution has evolved, we have continued to utilise the tools that are available within that to better manage the portfolios via aspects such as stress testing, style and factor analysis. This is particularly useful when we are using third-party managers.
“In addition, it’s actually a very good tool to use in the way we capture our notes on individual securities and managers. It means that our team can be anywhere in the world, or working remotely, and still be able to use Bloomberg to capture our notes in a single accessible area.”
He confirms this has been one of the biggest changes Infinity has made in relation to enhancing its processes to better manage investment portfolios
As a business, the ability for us to engage with the users of our portfolios is very important. It enables us to educate our users on our thoughts around financial markets, as well as explaining the rationale to the decisions we are making from a portfolio perspective
Measuring the success of Infinity’s investment offering is done in a couple of ways. First and foremost, Piers says, success is measured by other portfolios consistently achieving their investment objectives over rolling three year time frames. Infinity uses a real rate of return approach to the way it aims to deliver an investment outcome for clients - a CPI+ approach.
And secondly, success is measured by the support framework the business provides to the advice networks that utilise Infinity’s service offering.
“We provide advisers with regular reports and videos. So, as a business, the ability for us to engage with the users of our portfolios is very important. It enables us to educate our users on our thoughts around financial markets, as well as explaining the rationale to the decisions we are making from a portfolio perspective,” Piers says.
“By doing so, it provides our users with confidence and the ability to then translate that information to their individual clients. And that’s a win-win for everybody.”
IMAP congratulates all the finalists in the Multi Asset category.
- Atrium Investment Management
- Atticus Wealth Management
- Drummond Capital Partners
- Infinity Asset Management
- Macquarie Investment Management
- Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
- Nucleus Wealth