Markets have experienced a correction following a strong four-month rally from October 2022 lows. The trigger has been turmoil in the US banking sector following the collapse of SVB and two regional banks. All have been victims of poor risk management in the face of the sharp rise in interest rates. The authorities have moved swiftly to address the situation, restoring calm for now. Bond markets have rallied sharply, as yields have declined in expectations of easier monetary policy to protect the banking sector. The decline in equities has therefore been shallow overall, concentrated mostly in financials.
Our standard portfolios have continued to navigate market turbulence well, once again falling by considerably less than the benchmarks and remaining firmly in the first quartile over what has been a challenging and volatile year. They remain in positive territory for the year to date. Performance has been helped by holdings in physical gold and gold mining shares, which have rallied strongly, along with a healthy balance in cash. Over the long term our approach of building robust, diversified portfolios has successfully navigated many different market events, along with fund specific issues such as Woodford, where gains in some portfolio investments have insulated against losses elsewhere. The fact that our portfolios have been able to absorb these setbacks and continue to perform well relative to benchmark is testament to our rigorous, robust and diversified approach.