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INSIGHTS WITH EVALESCO

Year in Review 2021
by Jeff Thurecht | 15 December 2021

TOPICS DISCUSSED

Significant growth for the Evalesco team
Investment Year in Review
Lending Year in Review

As we hurtle toward the end of 2021, already, the saying ‘The days are long, but the years are short’ has never seemed so apt. Another year is done. 

The Evalesco team have been among the lucky ones this year. We are extremely grateful that we were able to continue to do our jobs and engage with you, our valued clients, from home during lockdown. We’re really enjoying being together in our new office, now, we’re loving seeing people in real life and we look forward to doing more of this next year. 

2021 has been a year of significant growth for Evalesco. We welcomed 8 new team members, Ashleigh, Cody, John, Rosh, Aoife, Marc, Dominic and Yogita. Although not intentionally, five of them started with us in the midst of lockdown, and working from home created a very different onboarding experience. However, all have come through the other side remarkably well, and have made fantastic contributions to our team. We welcomed the clients of Noall & Co to the Evalesco community and have enjoyed getting to know them and working alongside our good friend Marc. The Evalesco family also grew, with the very exciting arrival of two more Evalesco babies: Mia’s son James and Che’s son Ambrose. 

We are grateful that a large number of new clients chose to partner with us this year, thank you for referring your family, friends and colleagues to us. We look forward to helping more families in 2022. 

In among the broader pandemic-induced challenges, this year we have also been confronted with a raft of additional regulation. Several changes to ongoing service agreements and fee consents were introduced in July, along with another tranche relating to product and services disclosures in October. In fact, the scale of the changes and the raft of red-tape introduced in October has led to that month being dubbed ‘Red October’ within the industry. This may lead to some additional paperwork for you to read and sign. We are doing our best to improve our processes and resourcing to embed these changes, and trying to ensure your client experience doesn’t deteriorate. We appreciate your patience while we make these adjustments. 

The life insurance industry has also been undergoing significant change in relation to products and premiums. We continue to value personal insurance as a key component of a holistic financial plan and we’re pleased to have added more expertise to help you navigate this increasingly complex area through our recent team growth. 

Our team proudly received significant industry recognition during the second half of the year. Jules and our lending team were finalists in a number of awards for compliance, client service and growth. Marshall was recognised as one of the 50 most influential advisers in Australia, as well as winning the IFA (Independent Financial Adviser) Excellence Investment Adviser of the Year. It’s great to see the hard work of our team being acknowledged. 

This year we also launched new physical, and digital, homes for Evalesco. After a patient wait through lockdown, we finally got into our new office premises at Level 17, 20 Bond Street, Sydney. It is a wonderful welcoming space, and already feels like home. Our website was also given a major overhaul and really represents who we are and how we can help. Please have a browse at www.evalesco.com.au. We’d love to hear what you think about the office and the website. 

Thank you for continuing to entrust us to be your advice partner. We wish you a relaxing and fun festive season and a healthy, wealthy and happy 2022. 

Investment Year in Review 

2021 has been a positive year in terms of investment outcomes for our clients, with sharemarkets and domestic property delivering double digits returns. We are particularly pleased with the performance of our active share managers, however are mindful of fixed income investments with bond exposure as there is continued risk with these, should interest rates start to move upwards. 

We now have a far greater understanding of COVID than we did in early 2020, and we as know, markets respond well to certainty, and shares and property have rallied strongly. These rallies have in part been due to the increased certainty, but also increased demand for shares and property as investors search for income. 

There is danger associated with chasing returns, and this is something we as an Investment Committee have not done. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the actions undertaken that our attribution analysis has demonstrated were particularly impactful over the last twelve months. As a member of the Investment Committee, we consider it our role to ensure that we continue to maintain the model or models that you are invested in, seek to deliver greater value through prudent manager selection and to ensure that even when times are volatile, you keep moving forward. 

These are some of the actions that we believe have led to some very positive outcomes in 2021; 

  1. Switched out of Perpetual and into Hyperion (end of 2020)
  2. Maintained our protocol of quarterly rebalancing
  3. Adding the Sustainable Growth Model to our suite of portfolios 
  4. Taking profits from hedging, after successfully adding this in March 2020 
  5. Altering our fixed income positions based on our concerns around inflation not being as transitory as many central banks wanted us to believe 
  6. Replaced the Vanguard Australian Fixed Interest ETF in our Index Models in favour of a cheaper alternative managed by iShares. This also had the added benefit of reducing brokerage on trades as well. 
  7. Maintained our manager meeting protocols for our active and reserve managers 
  8. Launch of the AAN AM website, allowing for sharing of content for advisers and direct access for clients 
  9. Our models have consistently beaten their benchmarks, peer groups and market indexes  

It is important to note that over the last 10 years, 90.3% of international managers and 79.3% of Australian managers have failed to outperform the index. The active managers of Bennelong, Hyperion and Franklin Templeton that are in our portfolios sit on the good side of those statistics – it is worth noting that as an Investment Committee should there be uncertainty that active management can add value, we utilise low-cost index options. 

  • The Australian ASX 200 to Nov 30 2021 over the twelve months was up 15.5% and over the last 3 years has averaged 12.6% per annum.  
  • The US S&P500 is up 34.1% for the year to Nov 30 2021, UK FTSE was up 19.4%, and international shares more broadly were up 26.8%. 
  • Investors in the AAN Growth Model will have enjoyed returns of 21.47% before fees to 30 November 2021, and pleasingly has a five year per annum rate of return of 14.44% before fees. 
  • Investors in the AAN Core Model, including many of our retiree investors, will have enjoyed returns of 15.38% before fees to 30 November 2021, and has a five year per annum rate of return of 11.44% before fees. 
  • Our active managers continue to maintain holdings in their portfolio that have significant pricing power and the ability to increase prices should they be required to do so. We see this as an important hedge against rising inflation. 

The property slump of 2020 now remains firmly in the rear view mirror with capital cities recording strong levels of growth. (1) 12 month numbers (as at 12 December 2021) for the capitals: Sydney +25.8%, Melbourne 16.1%, Brisbane +27.4%, Adelaide +22.1%, Perth 13.6% and a five city average of 21.2%.  

Real estate agents and buyers agents in our circle have indicated they are seeing housing prices starting to cool as more supply comes online, with increasing demand for apartments.  

It is quite likely that 2022 will be a little more settled than the last two years as more of our States and Territories start to encourage travel our way of life that gets closer to the “old” normal. I have intentionally kept this piece brief as we will check in next week with some additional commentary. 

As always, should you have any questions about this content, or your own portfolio, please do reach out to your adviser, or email marshall@evalesco.com.au.  

Lending Year in Review 

2021 has been another record-breaking year for our lending team.  

We have helped more of our clients navigate their way through a challenging year on the property market, with many buying or moving homes, or purchasing investment properties, in an incredibly competitive environment – congratulations to all the new property owners! 

We also actively reviewed and restructured many of our clients’ existing loans to take advantage of competitive rates and products to get ahead on their home loans, undergo renovations or improvements to their properties, or build wealth more tax effectively via smarter debt strategies. 

With the ever-growing demand from our clients to provide all their financial services under one roof, we have allocated more resources within our lending team this year.  

In May we welcomed John as a Mortgage Broking Assistant. In August, our Director, Financial Adviser and Mortgage Broker, Jules, made the decision to dedicate more of her time to lending advice. While continuing to help many existing and new Evalesco clients with their loans and cashflow structures, her fellow advisers Hung and Melody have taken on the day-to-day management of many of Jules’ clients’ financial plans.  

Along with Kristi, our Lending Associate, the team have had a remarkably busy year, settling around $73.5m in loans for our clients. Those clients who have engaged our team to refinance their loans, have saved an average of $7,000 per year and taken years off the term of their home loans. As part of our ongoing lending reviews, we renegotiated many of our clients’ variable interest rates, or helped them lock in the record-low fixed rates that were on offer prior to the recent increases. 

Evalesco’s lending team were nominated as finalists in the 2021 Astute Business Growth Award, and were also finalists in the 2021 Centrepoint Alliance awards, in the Best Compliance, Best Residential Broker and Best Business categories. 

In November, APRA intervened to slow credit and property price growth by introducing changes to lenders’ servicing rules – borrowers now need to be able to prove they can make repayments at least 3% higher than their actual rate.  

The year ahead still presents some uncertainty for the property market, lending regulations and interest rates. Although it is still a seller’s market, there are already some signs the property market is cooling off, with an increased supply of property listings compared to the number of buyers. Further expected tightening of borrowing rules in 2022, is also likely to help slow property price growth next year. 

The recent rises in fixed rates are based on a forecast uplift in the cash rate due to inflation increases, brought about by ongoing supply-chain issues due to Covid, along with economic recovery with borders re-opening. Although most banks’ economists expect any increase in the official rate will not come earlier than 2023. 

With our combined areas of expertise, Evalesco is well positioned to continue to help our clients navigate through the changes ahead, and with a focus on saving our clients’ money in their household budgets through reducing interest and fees on their loans, combined with some clever structuring of our clients’ savings using dedicated offset accounts, we are confident our lending team can help even more clients in 2022 reach their goals sooner. 

Sources:  

(1) https://propertyupdate.com.au/australian-property-market   

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