ASI Global Absolute Return Strategies P1

A global, multi-asset, absolute return fund targeting cash +5% returns before fees over a rolling 3 yr period. In May 2015 the fund was downgraded from 3 to 2 stars.

  • 63.02p
    Price (Inc)

    These are the shares in the fund that pay out an income to clients. The income is made up of the total dividends – the money a company can pay out to its investors – from the companies in the fund.

  • -
    Price (Acc)

    These are the shares in the fund that don’t pay out an income to clients. Any dividends – the money a company can pay out to its investors – are reinvested into companies in the fund. Despite no income, the shares should be worth more over time. Good incentive, eh?

  • 0.00%

    Initial charge

    Some funds charge you when you first invest, which is aptly known as the initial charge. They’re usually between 3-5% but at Bestinvest, we usually don’t charge you a penny!

  • 0.75%
    Annual management charge

    This is how much the fund management company charges to run the fund. It’s like paying a babysitter, dog sitter or house sitter (that makes well-informed, heavily researched changes to improve your baby/dog/house when needed).

  • 0.89%
    Ongoing charges

    This stands for Ongoing Charges Figure. It’s the cost of running a fund and includes admin fees, manager fees, administration costs, etc.

  • 1.70%

    How much the fund is currently paying out in income to investors. It’s NOT to be confused with the overall growth of a fund – a very different thing indeed. It’s also NOT a guarantee of future pay-outs, just a snapshot. This is more what it’s not than what it is…

Prices as at 23 November 2020, fund data last updated 30 September 2014

This fund seeks to generate a positive return of 5% above cash (before fees) over the medium term and irrespective of market conditions. To achieve this, the investment team uses a number of discrete strategies each reflecting a specific investment idea which are each intended to provide small, incremental returns to generate the positive overall return with relatively low volatility (4-8% p.a.). The fund will employ notional leverage to achieve its investment objectives. Targeted Absolute Return funds do not guarantee a positive return and you could get back less than you invested, much like any other investment. Additionally, the underlying assets of these funds generally use complex hedging techniques through the use of derivative products.

Fund summary

Sector Targeted Absolute Return
Structure UNIT TRUST
Launched August, 2012
Size £3,810m
Yield 1.70%
Charging basis Income
Dividends paid Acc units only


Standard initial charge 0.00%
Initial charge via Bestinvest 0.00%
Additional bid/offer spread 0.00%
Annual management charge 0.75%
Ongoing charges figure 0.89%


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Investment process

The GARS portfolio is built using input from 3 teams: a global strategy team, responsible for idea generation; risk management responsible for position sizing and portfolio management with responsibility for idea implementation. Investment ideas are based on a 2-3 year view. The team will invest in both traditional asset classes, such as equities and bonds, as well as more sophisticated, derivative-based instruments. The managers do not seek to exploit short term arbitrage, instead the focus is on multi-year fundamental opportunities. Typically the fund will employ 23 to 40 trades which SLIM categorise as market directional, market return and relative value; at any time the portfolio maybe more skewed to one of these categories depending on the opportunity set. The objective is to build a diversified portfolio of uncorrelated trades, each individual trade is designed to make a positive contribution to performance. Risk is tightly controlled with a particular focus on the Value at Risk (VAR) and volatility targets (4-8%p.a).

Standard Life have been running the Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS) mandate for institutional clients since 2006. Essentially this is a transparent, cost efficient multi-strategy hedge fund seeking to deliver positive returns over the medium term at relatively low levels of volatility. The mandate is diversified with no single strategy dominating the portfolio risk profile. Whilst there have been some defections from the team, the process remains well resourced.

Manager research

Average monthly relative returns

  • 15/16 -0.03%
  • 16/17 -0.22%
  • 17/18 -0.06%
  • 18/19 -15.94%
  • 19/20 0.37%

Bestinvest MRI

  • 3 years -5.21%
  • 5 years -3.18%
  • Career -0.85%
  • 3 years 9.30%
  • 5 years 9.20%
  • Career 17.60%

Performance figures are based on the average of monthly percentage returns relative to the benchmark index.

Standard Life Multi Asset Team

Guy Stern is responsible for day to day running of multi-asset portfolios and heads the investment teams covering both absolute return and liability driven investment mandates. There are three core areas covered by the team: Multi-Asset Portfolio Managers also headed by Guy Stern; Strategic and economic analysis headed by Andrew Milligan; and Risk monitoring and control headed by Brian Fleming. The Multi-Asset Investing Team of 31 professionals also uses the expertise of all the asset desks across Standard Life Investments, including the Treasury Banking, Equity and the Fixed Income Teams.

Track record

Standard Life Multi Asset Team has 14.3 years experience of managing mutual funds in this sector. Over this period the average monthly return relative to the benchmark index has been -0.85%. During the worst period of relative performance (from January 2016 - April 2019) there was a decline of 100% relative to the index. The worst absolute loss has been 10%.

Periods of worst performance

Absolute -10.00% (October 2007 - September 2008)
Relative -100.00% (January 2016 - April 2019)

About the MRI

Our unique indicator: the Bestinvest Manager Record Index (MRI) measures the likelihood that the fund manager is adding value through their decisions. It is based on their performance record over the course of their career, adjusted for the amount of risk taken. MRI is an important contributor to our fund rating system but it is also vital to take account of qualitative factors. It is also very important to select funds to form a cohesive portfolio with an appropriate overall risk level.


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Sector breakdown

Hedge 100.00%


The portfolio is well diversified with no one position dominating risk exposures.


Maximum stand alone equity exposure <40%. 4-8% vol target.

Key Investor Information