To say that 2020 has been a somewhat interesting year is an understatement. If someone had told me that we’d all be working from home come Christmas time, I’m not sure I would’ve believed them. However, it’s heartening to see not just how the broader Zenith team and business has responded and adapted, but how the entire industry has pivoted to continue to support their clients and deliver on the important role they play in the broader financial services sector.
Not surprisingly, the role of active management in navigating around the worst hit sectors and stocks has been critical. While several sectors have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, a number of sectors have rebounded and delivered positively for investors and we’ve seen many managers continue to adapt and thrive to deliver better outcomes for their investors.
It’s certainly been a year of change and growth within our business. We welcomed the Chant West team in July and their expertise and professionalism have been great additions to the business, expanding our range of services on super ratings, insights and comparison tools. The integration of the two businesses continues to progress well, with the Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, Legal and Compliance functions now fully integrated into the broader business.
Ongoing recruitment activity continued despite the pandemic, in particular, the expansion of the consulting team with the appointment of Shailesh Jain, Martin Kofoed, and Calvin Richardson. The well-rounded team will support the ongoing growth of our managed accounts suite and the expansion of our service offering to a growing pipeline of clients.
And for the first time in its nine-year history, we delivered our annual Fund Awards online this year. While the event was low on fanfare and applause from the crowd, the same rigour and diligence was applied to the methodology and judging process. Congratulations to all finalists and winners on your achievements this year.
It’s also very pleasing to report that the managed accounts business has continued to grow and prosper, and portfolio returns have rebounded very strongly from the market correction in March to be above both their respective benchmarks and median manager returns. The ability to quickly rebalance and reposition clients’ managed account portfolios during the extreme market volatility is testament to the efficiencies of the structure, and clients’ returns greatly benefited from this nimble portfolio adjustment.
Mosaic Analyse, our flagship research portal for advisers, launched in March this year, with an ongoing pipeline of enhancements delivered during the year, including more interactive performance reporting and a much-improved investment analysis tool.
The subscription and partnership with MSCI on their BarraOne portfolio tool will enable us to deliver institutional-grade portfolio analysis, insights and reporting for our managed account portfolio clients.
The launch of our new responsible investment (RI) framework in September, providing a clear, consistent framework for advisers to assess and filter an investment product’s true approach to RI.
The continued expansion of our research coverage in areas like real assets (private equity, commodity, real estate-based investments) as well as new products, managers and strategies in the mainstream asset classes.
A growing pipeline of relevant insights and opinion pieces produced by our research and consulting teams, delivered to your in-box via our new client newsletter – we hope you enjoy this edition.
2021 is shaping up to be another year of growth for the broader Zenith Group.
Recognising the critical importance of technology in the way we support the advice process, we’re really excited about the upcoming launch of Mosaic Analyse Portfolio Builder in February next year. This innovative tool will deliver portfolio insights and analysis in a user-friendly format, giving you access to full look-through analysis of underlying holdings exposures in equities, REITs and fixed income for individual funds and constructed portfolios.
Chant West’s account linking tool is another key innovation that will be delivered in the new year. This powerful tool will enable advisers to calculate fee efficiencies for linked super accounts both as a stand-alone calculator and within the existing switching tools – a key benefit for clients as more and more products now provide discounts for linked accounts.
Our consulting team has also been working diligently to construct a new suite of dedicated retirement portfolios. With the acceleration in the rate of retiring baby boomers, we’re seeing a generation of retirees who are looking for a complementary income stream which is affordable, easy to understand and offers capital protection. Look out for more detailed information in the new year.
As always, thank you for your continuing support but particularly during the strange year that has been 2020. From the Zenith team, we wish you and your families health and happiness over the festive season and look forward to working with you in what’s hopefully a more normal 2021.