After a strong finish to 2017, Barbados-based Fortress Fund Managers is forecasting a positive 2018 for its range of investments, despite the challenges to the local economy.
The company manages more than BBD $650 million across 13 different funds with regional and global investments and Peter Arender, chief investment officer of Fortress Advisory & Investment Services, believes this year’s projected success will be achieved through its policy of disciplined value investing and achieving profit growth for its individual and organisational investors.
He, however, noted that although equity investments are on stream to realise a positive year in 2018, the results would probably be less than last year when returns were “superb” in many areas, including their flagship Fortress Caribbean Growth Fund’s 14 percent increase.
Arender continued, “Profit growth remains good in many regions and it is still possible to find many attractively valued stocks. We are value investors and are always looking to maximize benefits for our investors relative to what we are paying.”
Regular monthly savings investor trend to continue
Nevertheless, he cautioned that limited options in the Barbados capital market may still be a challenge for Barbados investors because, generally, the lack of such options leads to either high risk of loss or lower returns. Either way, pension plan sponsors and participants would need, therefore, to continue adjusting to the implications of lower returns in the short term.
He continued, “Investors will continue to sign up for monthly plans as this is the best way to save steadily for the future. Studies have demonstrated the validity of regular automatic saving and today’s systems, including those of Fortress, help to encourage this good investment behaviour. We see more of this happening in 2018 and, indeed, recommend it highly.”
Fortress responds to investors’ needs with new fixed income fund
Arender also revealed that as investors around the region continue to search for viable alternatives to low interest rates offered by commercial banks, Fortress responded to the needs of current and future investors with the launch of its Fortress Fixed Income Fund late last year. This, he explained, was done to offer easy access to a high-quality bond portfolio at low cost for U.S. dollar-based investors.
In the global equity markets, the chief investment officer expects international and emerging markets stocks to outperform those in the U.S. for the second year in a row. He noted, “The Fortress Emerging Markets Fund was able to take advantage of this and was up 27 percent in 2017 when, after three years of recession, growth resumed in emerging markets and we expect more to come. This is a positive sign for our investors.”
He added, “2017 was a good year with record-breaking growth in several of our range of funds. As for 2018, despite the challenges economically in Barbados, the region and in other parts of the world, it is still possible to find attractively valued stocks and this is where Fortress’ focus will continue in order to generate good returns for our current and prospective investors into the future.”