11.09.2015

For some investors, ethics can play as large a part in where they put their money as anything else. The award-winning WSF Global Equity Fund allows investors to meet their ethical needs and gain financial reward, offering access to global markets and an investment sector that has grown dramatically in recent years.

 

GROWING MARKET

The ethical investment industry has grown dramatically in the last decade. In the UK alone, ethical investments have almost trebled in the past 10 years, according to the responsible investment research firm EIRIS. Socially-aware investors with a desire to invest responsibly looking to financial products that meet their investment needs but also adhere to their ethical or religious values have helped drive this growth. But such products have also benefitted from the fact that investors have become more aware of the range of such products available, and realised that this type of investment does not necessarily involve any sacrifice in terms of potential investment returns. Many have been drawn, in the wake of the financial crisis, to the fact that, just as with the WSF Global Equity Fund, many ethical funds do not invest in companies with high levels of debt. During the financial crisis the shares of highly indebted companies fell dramatically. The WSF Global Equity Fund has strict criteria that veto investment in any company with debt levels above a certain threshold.

 

As Ian Lancaster, CEO of Cogent Asset Management Ltd and portfolio manager for the WSF Global Equity Fund, explains: “The Fund is suitable for any investor who holds strong social ethics, i.e. does not want to invest in the alcohol, gambling or tobacco sectors, is sceptical about the value added to society by the conventional banking system, and who wishes to invest in companies that are conservatively financed with low levels of debt.

“The range of equities we pick from offer access to a universe of financially conservative companies that have delivered good historic investment returns at relatively low levels of volatility. Such attributes have the potential to enhance any investor’s portfolio.”

 

 

WORLD LEADER

However, it is not just the growing popularity of ethical investment vehicles which makes investment in the Fund so attractive. The Fund has repeatedly proved its quality with the standard of its performance among its peers. Its accolades include:

 

  • Named Best Islamic Fund (Global Equity) 2012 at the Islamic Business and Finance Awards.
  • Has consistently been among the top performing Shariah funds in Morningstar’s Global Category – Islamic Global Equity since its inception in 2010.
  • Was awarded a five star rating by Morningstar as its first rating from the agency three years after its inception. The Fund’s performance (I Class) put it in the top 10% of its peers in Morningstar’s Islamic Global Equity category.

 

PERFORMANCE (USD)


COGNITION

The portfolio manager selects equities using ‘Cognition’ – Cogent’s dynamic multi-factor stock screening process. Cognition systematically sifts through thousands of data items in the Fund’s investment universe to identify companies with characteristics that give them the potential to outperform its benchmark.

 

  • Cognition continually monitors the market, changing its preference between Value, Growth, Momentum, Quality, Low Volatility and Financial Strength investment “styles” as the market’s focus moves between them.
  • Detailed analysis of economic sectors across six geographic regions enables Cognition to track down the most promising types of company characteristics based on local market conditions.
  • Companies that offer the most compelling combinations of the most favourable investment styles are ranked highly and form the core of the portfolio.
  • The Cognition investment process is used to invest in a portfolio of approximately 100-150 companies across the world’s developed equity markets.

 

GLOBAL CONSIDERATIONS

The Fund’s worldwide investment reach taps into one of the key themes for today’s investor: the increasing globalisation of markets. The impact of global issues (technology, outsourcing, environmental change etc.) has also become increasingly important even for those companies operating in traditionally regional industries. Investors must therefore consider international trends and valuations when assessing investment opportunities. This is by no means a simple task, but one for which Cognition is ideally suited given its ability to concurrently analyse multiple geographic regions and market segments.

 

GEOGRAPHICAL BREAKDOWN

OUTLOOK

Global economic growth continues to be sluggish while concerns over China’s slowdown and the Greek crisis have weighed on sentiment recently. Both are expected to continue to occupy investors’ minds in the coming months. However, while there has been some mixed data out of the US recently, the signs are that the economy remains on its upward path. Meanwhile, US interest rate rises, which global markets have long been expecting, are likely to be one of, if not the, major drivers on global market performance in the near future. The Fund, though, is uniquely well positioned to cope with divergent fortunes in the global economy, given the nature of its expert-system investment process. The portfolio manager does not seek to outperform the market by taking active bets on sectors or currencies, but rather by understanding the prevailing economic environment in different regions of the world. Trading is therefore undertaken to realign the portfolio towards dominant investment themes.

 

INVESTMENT ADVISER

The founder directors of Cogent Asset Management Ltd have previously managed award-winning and top performing funds across various categories. The team has developed a propitiatory strategy for managing equities through a process driven and systematic approach to investment which rigorously implements stock selection based on quantifiable fundamental criteria. As of March 2015, the company had assets under management of USD41 million.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This report has been prepared for information only, and it does not represent either an offer to purchase or subscribe to shares of any Cell, or an advertisement for countries where the Cells are not registered for sale. Trident Fund Services (Guernsey) Limited and World Shariah Funds PCC Ltd (the „WSF“) are licensed and regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission under the Protection of Investors (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1987 as amended. Company Registration Number: 51802. WSF believes that the information is correct at the date of production while obtained from carefully selected sources considered to be reliable. No warranty or representation is given to this effect and no liability can be assumed for the correctness or accuracy of the given information which may be subject to change at any time, without notice. Past performance provides neither a guarantee, nor an indication of future performance. Value of the shares and return they generate can fall as well as rise. Currency fluctuations, either up or down, may also affect value of the investment. Due to continuing market volatility and exchange rate fluctuations, the performance may be subject to significant changes over a short-term period. Investors should be aware that shares in the financial instruments entail investment risks, including the possible loss of the invested capital. Performance is usually calculated on the basis of the relevant NAV unless stated otherwise. Performance shown does not take account of any fees and costs associated with subscribing or redeeming shares. It is assumed that all dividends were reinvested. The full documentation required to make an investment, including the Scheme Particulars is available and may be obtained through Trident Fund Services (Guernsey) Limited or www.wsffunds.com. Before investing in any WSF Cells investors should contact their financial adviser/legal adviser/tax adviser and refer to all relevant documents relating to the WSF and its particular Cell(s), such as the latest annual report and Offering Memorandum and relevant Supplement that specify the particular risks associated with the Cell, together with any specific restrictions applying, and the basis of dealing. In the event investors choose not to seek advice from a financial adviser/legal adviser/tax adviser, they should consider whether the WSF is a suitable investment for them.