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Managed Funds

There are many types of ‘funds’ that exist within Australia; however, unless you are positioned within the financial services industry, or you are a wholesale client by definition of the Corporations Act 2001, chapter 7 (for example, at the time this book was written, you had an annual salary exceeding $250,000 in two consecutive years or net assets exceeding $2.5 million) you are more than likely to not have too much knowledge around the managed funds available.

By definition, a managed fund is a type of ‘managed investment scheme’ in which your investment or money is pooled together along with others. With a fund created, the fund manager then buys and sells shares or other assets on behalf of the funds.

Every working Australian, must by law set aside money during their working life to support their retirement. This system is known as Superannuation. With your superannuation, the Australian superannuation guaranteed rate of 9.5%, which will rise to 12% by 2025 is paid into your superannuation fund by your employer. A superannuation fund is similar to a managed fund in that the funds are pooled and managed by an Investment Manager, however a superannuation fund is specifically created to ensure your financial security in retirement for those who are members of the superannuation fund.

As a holder of superannuation, you can log into your super account and see how much you have, what investment mix your portfolio is set up to achieve, what assets your money is invested in and how the performance is tracking.

There are several differences between a superannuation fund and a managed fund, some of which are:

  • you are a member of a superannuation fund whilst you are an investor that holds units in a managed fund;
  • your investment increases periodically whilst you are working as your employer makes super contributions to your superannuation fund; and
  • by law unless you have ‘exceptional circumstances’ you can’t access your super until you are 65 or have permanently retired from 55 to 60 years old, depending on a range of circumstances.

A managed fund works slightly differently

A managed fund pools multiple investors’ money into a fund, which is professionally managed by specialist investment managers. You can buy into the fund by purchasing units or shares. The unit’s value is calculated daily, and changes as the market value of the assets in the fund rises and falls.

Each managed fund has a specific investment objective, typically focused on different asset classes and a specific investment management philosophy to provide a defined risk/return outcome.

Investing in a managed fund is not mandatory like superannuation but it essentially operates in the same way.

Unlike with your super, as an investor in a managed fund, you are usually paid income or 'distributions' periodically. The value of your investment will rise or fall with the value of the underlying assets.

What are managed funds used for?

As with many funds and financial instruments for that matter, one of the major uses for managed funds is diversification. This is done through managed funds by spreading the risk of the investments with different types of shares or levels in different asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, ETFs - you name it.

With the managed fund pooling the resources from a range of investors to realise economies of scale, it can then amplify their positions through not only adding additional investors to the pool but also taking a margin loan out against the funds in the position – should the risk tolerance of the fund allow it to.

When investing in a managed fund, you are paying a percentage and fees to expert fund managers, who are responsible for the performance of the fund, picking the financial instruments being traded and managing investors’ money in a responsible and effective way.

With access to analysts, market data, insights and research that is far beyond the time and scope available to individual investors, the decisions made within the managed funds should always be backed by research.

Another benefit of managed funds is compound returns or reinvested products and distributions being allocated back into your fund. This allows any future performance of your investment to be now based on a larger amount – thus compounding – rather than pulling the profits from the managed fund.

This form of investing in funds is what is commonly termed as ‘passive investing’. That is to say, as an investor, you are putting your money and its future performance to work through giving it to someone else to manage.

By doing this, you absolve yourself of the responsibility of the day-to-day checking, trading, research and updating, while your fund manager who has access to a wealth of time-critical data, teams of analysts and decades of market experience takes the wheel and drives your money harder.

What type of managed funds exists on the market today?

Although there are six (6) main types of managed funds on the market today, there are many more varieties of funds, providing a spectrum of assets allocated based on the risk profiles, desired outcomes and what the money is being invested to achieve.

  • Active Funds, as the name suggests, work to outperform the index that it is tracking through active management of the managed fund account.
  • Index Funds, also known as ETFs or exchange-traded funds, aim to provide investors with performance in line with the particular index that it is tracking – whereas the active funds are looking to outperform the market.
  • Single Sector Funds, work within a particular asset class, such as SME’s or FinTech and the performance of players within that space.
  • Multi-Sector Funds have a diversified approach across a wide range of asset classes all with varying risk levels attached.
  • Income Funds are geared towards a defensive holding strategy, income generation but minimising risk at the same time. These funds are often sought out when market volatility strikes markets, industries or economies.
  • Growth Funds are long-term investments focusing on capital growth, rather than income-based. As such, they are typically geared towards shares in growth companies and sectors to capitalise upon their long-term positions or outlooks.

Depending on your personal investment strategy and financial goals, you may opt to invest in one or a combination of funds to ensure your risk is spread, and you are achieving the desired outcomes.

Should you be looking to hedge your investment portfolio with a safe bet looking to invest in income funds may be the strategy to employ, meanwhile, should you be looking at the ‘long game’ in terms of investing money for 5+ years, then a growth fund or even an index fund could be an ideal avenue for investment.

While index funds – as well as active funds – also offer investors access to invest in a range of financial assets in emerging markets or specific industries, so they also offer significant short-term opportunities as well.

The key is under careful & experienced management; a managed fund offers significant advantages for almost all retail investors.

What type of fees can you expect on a managed fund?

On a managed fund, the fee structures can vary depending on the structure of the fund, the financial instruments that are being traded as well as the potential risks involved with the fund, not to mention the fund managers themselves, their background, past performance etc.

However as quoted from the Sydney Morning Herald, “based on an initial investment of $50,000, the average investment management fee paid by individual small investors for multi-sector balanced managed funds is just under 1 per cent but can be as high as 2.5 per cent. Average "retail" fees – those paid by individual investors - on multi-sector "growth" funds are 1.16 per cent and 1.18 per cent on multi-sector "aggressive" funds”.

What are the next steps when looking into a managed fund?

If you are considering a managed fund as part of your portfolio, as with all financial products, it is always important to speak to an independent expert before doing so to ensure that the funds meet with your investment strategy and particular risk tolerance.

Many fund managers have a minimum investment of between $5,000 and $250,000 for retail investors, making them out of reach for smaller investors. However, with ETFs or exchange-traded funds that are listed on the ASX, there are other options should you be looking to dip your toe in the managed fund water sooner.

Remembering that online stockbrokers – such as IG, CommSec or CMC Markets Stockbroking - typically charge anywhere between $10 and $20 brokerage for a $100 trade, which even at the low end of the brokerage scale, this means that with every $100 worth of shares you should expect to pay at least $10 in brokerage, as a rule of thumb.

Like with all investments, you need to consider your personal investment goals, your tolerance to risk and the amount you are looking to invest and for how long. These decisions will have a bearing on which fund you may end up looking to invest in, and also the managed fund provider you go to work with.

As with all financial decisions, as an investment, it is prudent to research and seek professional advice before making any finite decisions.

Managed funds are not exclusive to sophisticated investors or high net worth individuals. They offer significant advantages to investors who wish to spread their investment and risk across a range of shares of financial assets, rather just in one particular company or asset class.

Although there are many hedging and risk benefits to this approach, there are still risks involved, and these should be assessed before investing in any hedge fund.

Related blog articles

How to start out in alternative investments?

Aug 20, 2021 11:09:17 AM

How to start out in alternative investments?

Like many investors out there, you have decided to ‘start out in alternative investments’. You understand your risk tolerance and you have your objectives in place – if not, you obviously didn’t read the last section, please do!

Now it's time to work through how to get started. As we have mentioned more than a dozen times in this book, it is vital that you get advice first. Speaking to an expert in alternative investments is key to your success, when starting out in the world of alternative investments.

You may think that investing in a managed fund is the best path for you, or maybe a piece of artwork. But which fund? Which piece of artwork? Why?

This is where the experts come into action. They can provide you with factual data on the performance of their funds, of their investments, of what your money ‘could have looked like’ had you invested with them 1, 3, 5, 10 years ago. Often this is very compelling, but always remember, that past performance is not an accurate predictor of future returns!

It must be noted though, that in the wake of the Royal Commission into the Financial Services Sector, new laws require a financial adviser to recommend an investment strategy that best suits the client so the expert should be able to speak about more than just their own strategy or an MDA, but a range of financial products to best identify what will suit your particular needs.

As an investor that is new to alternative investments, it is often easy to get caught up in how well funds have performed, but you need to ask why? What market conditions lead to this?

Although you might feel like a ‘dummy’ before you put your hard-earned money into a fund, you need to understand everything about how it works, you have every right to ask why, what, when, where and how as many times as you need until you feel comfortable.

Should you be investing in a fund or a scheme, there will always be a prospectus or information memorandum for you to review. Take it to your financial planner and/or accountant and ask them to review it, again ask as many questions as you can.

The key is not being caught up in all the ‘smoke and mirrors’ that sometimes-unscrupulous fund operators have. For example, from a sleepy little town in Northern New South Wales, Kingscliff came Gold Sky, voted the #1 fund in a prestigious Hong Kong awards for fund innovations.

The fund claimed to use ‘big data’, ‘social media’ and ‘quantitative analysis’ to deliver returns well beyond market averages. Backed by big named sports stars, and holding lavish events with industries heavyweights such as Mark Bouris guest speaking, everything looked like gold for this little fund.

Then, it all came crashing down as the SEC and ASIC started peeling back the layers of the onion, looking into the director, his fund’s management experience and of course the company balance sheet and realised it was nothing but a Ponzi scheme, leaving investors over $12 million out of pocket.

By definition, the “key elements of Ponzi scheme are as follows: (1) using new investor funds to pay prior investors; (2) representing that the investor returns are generated from a purported business venture; and (3) employing artificial devices to disguise the lack of economic substance or defer the recognition of economic loss”.

In short, where money is involved, unfortunately, there are in many cases a large number of unscrupulous operators, doing a lot of things that are not only bad business but also illegal.

Before you step into investing, be sure to get independent advice from more than one person including your accountant, your financial advisor, and your lawyer. But if you don’t have any of those, maybe consider looking into getting one, as you want to make sure you are always protected.

What type of investor are you?

Aug 20, 2021 9:28:03 AM

What type of investor are you?

Now, having reviewed the multitude of investment opportunities, both in traditional and alternative investments, you should have a grasp of what each investment avenue can provide and where you potentially fit in.

Odds are, as this is a beginner’s guide, then you will be starting your journey into investing. If, however, you are reading this section of this e-book, then you have started your journey in the right way. Getting information and a basic understanding of the different types of investments - both alternative and traditional – is paramount before you start anything.

Once you have finished this book, sign up and attend a few seminars, take a workshop or two, even log in and start trading on a simulator – such as the ASX Game – which allows you to trade in live conditions, but with money that is not your own. Therefore you limit any losses entirely, but unfortunately, you don’t make any gains.

So, now to the million-dollar question, what type of investor are you? The key is to understand first what your objectives are? Are you looking for the thrill of trade, buying and selling quickly and taking risks, or are you looking to invest for the long term, maybe to support or fund your retirement?

Like you would a business plan, firstly, set yourself a series of key goals or objectives. These can include setting up a residual income stream in 5-10 years or turning $10,000 into $100,000 in ten years. Ensure you are being SMART or, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

For example, by 2025, I want to have a diversified portfolio of shares with a value of $60,000. So, even if you have to put in $12,000 per year, or $1,000 per month into your portfolio and you make no capital gains through the shares, this is achievable.

Once you have 5+ objectives in place, now it is time to understand your risk tolerance. Can you afford to lose everything you are putting in? If the answer is no, then shares, cash and property through the ‘traditional’ investment channels are right for you. Potentially being part of a managed fund, even investing in some art could be of benefit.

On the other hand, if you have come into some money – through inheritance or otherwise – maybe you own your own home, and you are looking to invest money and make a higher return – with little to no consequence to your livelihood or the roof over your head, then potentially looking at investing in a fund, ETFs or even CFDs could be an option.

We will always put a warning in place, that these alternative investment channels are used by experts, as when people with a little knowledge play in this space, they are often taken advantage of and can lose a lot more than you thought you were investing – as mentioned above.

So, the key is to get advice, seek experts to guide you. For example, many MDAs – such as the MDAs at Walker Capital – provide minimum investments of $10,000, and their returns – which you can see for yourself on our website – often buck the trends in the marketplace. It must be noted that the investment strategy used by Walker Capital as part of the MDA includes investing in highly risky and speculative products.

While investing is often seen as a long term strategy to future wealth and sustaining your lifestyle, there is no question that when you put your own money in, you become very interested in reading about company information, market movements and looking for the next play for your portfolio. Stay informed, read the financial papers, websites and blogs from ‘real’ authority figures – and NEVER invest more than you can afford to lose.

So, you could be a risk-averse investor, putting your money only into ‘blue-chip stocks’ such as BHP and the banks, while ensuring that you have your mortgage paid and your kids school fees paid. On the other side of the coin, you may have a high-risk tolerance, happy to risk $1,000, $10,000, $100,000 even $1,000,000 if the payoff is worth it.

The key is to set your objectives, set your limits, get expert advice and stick to your line – the moment you start deviating, getting carried away or ‘straying from your strategy’ this is where mistakes can be made and losses incurred.

Other Investments

Aug 20, 2021 9:25:54 AM

Other Investments


Investing in art has moved from the stuffy collections of the wealthy elite, into the mainstream as investors around the world seek to diversify their portfolios, hedge against risk and collect some beautiful talking pieces for their office or home walls along the way.

In 2019 the Art Basel UBS Art Market Report contended that the global art market was worth close to $US67 billion. Now to many investors, this may seem like something too good to miss out on, however, although the market value increased vs. 2018, the net gain over 10 years is 8.7 per cent, which is lower than the Australian rate of inflation! 

With over 40 million transactions in the global art market, there is an underlying assumption of ‘liquidity’ in the market, as could be assumed with the trading of shares, bonds or other financial instruments. However, this is not the case for all art, the market certainly is a ‘buyer beware’ scenario.

Like with other financial instruments, without prior experience or knowledge an investor wouldn’t simply walk in and buy any art piece off the shelf – unless they had the means to do so and like the work.

There are indeed intermediaries, galleries, and buyers’ agents providing services from simply the buying and selling of the works, through to providing services such as ‘buyers agents’ as you would find in real estate, who scout out particular works or artists. In addition, there are art investment specialists that work directly with clients to purchase high growth prospect works from rising or established artists.

It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and no industry is this more apparent than the art world. What some people may see as an eyesore, could fetch astronomical prices at auction; it is simply about investing in the right works at the right time, and like any asset class, knowing the right time to move them.

Transparency and markets are often an issue with art

It is no secret that there are forgeries and many cowboys trading art around the world, and not merely in a Jack Ryan or James Bond thriller. Artworks, especially those considered ‘fine art’ can be sold for millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars, so it is no wonder there are forgeries and fakes circulating out in the marketplace.

The art market as a whole is largely unregulated, leading to a wide range of issues in itself. In addition, the trade in fine art is unpredictable because it depends not just on supply and demand but also on the unmeasurable factor of taste.

Although this is starting to evolve and change, with many art registers and auction houses around the world implementing blockchain technology for the purpose of cataloguing and tracking the movement of art from galleries, through to storage to stamp out forgery.

Like all investments, for those who are entering the market for the first time, or potentially looking to step their investment up a level, seeking expert, certified & professional advice is always the best course of action. As previously mentioned, there is a wide range of experts around the world that specialise in particular art types or even investment art pieces.

These are pieces that are in high demand by private and corporate houses, that seek to lease the asset, providing ongoing and incremental returns, while the owner also enjoys the asset value appreciation. Through the right investment strategy, there are significant opportunities and ROI that can be realised, not only for a capital gain but also for portfolio hedging.


Like art, antiquities have grown significantly in appeal for portfolio diversification in the past few decades. However, before such time, antiquities have been the source of much conflicts, such as the crusades in which the knight’s templar plundered much of the middle east in the quest for the holy grail, said to be the cup that Christ passed around at the last supper.

All that aside, antiquities have a large potential capital appreciation, and many of us don’t even know what we may have in the cupboard. From dinner sets, glassware, pottery, vases, furniture that has been created by famous artists, or production houses – such as Royal Doulton – have huge potential for capital growth.


If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage from your grandparent’s cellar from back in the day, you would be doing ok. Individual bottles of the 1951 vintage are still held by collectors; one sold at auction in 2004 for just over $50,000.

The global wine industry was valued at approximately USD 302.02 billion in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue of around USD, 423.59 billion by the end of 2023, growing at a CAGR of around 5.8% between 2017 and 2023.

Investment in wine most certainly is not a new idea, however with high levels of transparency, accountability and liquidity – unlike say cryptocurrencies – there are huge opportunities to be made at all levels of the spectrum. It should be remembered that we are not suggesting you head down and get a case of 2019 cleanskins from your local bottle shop as an investment.

The fact of the matter is “less than 1% of all wine produced worldwide may be considered investment grade, with the market traditionally preoccupied with the prestigious chateaux of Bordeaux. The finite quantities produced, ever-decreasing through consumption generally ensure predictable growth in the long-term with a perfectly inverse supply curve”.

But in saying that, as new and emerging markets – such as the Chinese & South East Asian middle-class rise in numbers and appreciation of wines, the markets are certainly being challenged in terms of their supply/demand curve.

Like investing in stocks, art or maybe a fund, it is important to not just go it alone. Also remembering that just because you may like a particular wine, it doesn’t make it valuable. There are many wine shows around the capital cities and wine regions of Australia, as well as auction houses – such as Langton’s in Melbourne and Christie's Auction House in Sydney – that run specific wine investment courses, auctions and of course events.

Not only could you make a good investment by attending such a course, but also you will learn a lot and have a great time while doing it.

Other alternative investments

These include Private Equity Infrastructure, Private Equity Real Estate and Private Equity Debt Funds; these are very selectively used and are most certainly not available to any investor off the street.

The investments outlined are highly complex financial instruments that are used by only ‘institutional investors and extremely wealthy individuals.

That being said, it is still very important as you move through your investment journey, especially that into alternative investment opportunities, to understand them – if even from a basic level. As such, we have provided a brief synopsis of each to give you an understanding.

Private Equity Infrastructure

Investing in Private Equity (PE) infrastructure is an investment in utilities, transport, social infrastructure: such as hospitals and schools and of course energy assets. Unlike ‘private equity’, PE Infrastructure is treated differently due to its low volatility and strong cash yield. In addition, infrastructure assets performance is often implicitly or explicitly linked to macro indicators such as inflation, GDP, population growth, and has a very low correlation with other asset classes.

So, why can’t I jump on this asset I hear you say? Well, often the buy-in for such an investment is in the Millions, even hundreds of. Not only that, but they are highly complex in their structure and done through the big end of town. So although it would be great to put your $10,000 savings into, unfortunately, this is not for you.

Private Equity Real Estate

Typically for private equity real estate, the minimum rate of investment is often starting from $250,000. This is often a barrier to many investors.

Private equity real estate is an asset class composed of pooled private and public investments in the property markets. Investing in this asset class involves the acquisition, financing, and ownership (either direct or indirect) of property or properties via a pooled vehicle.

Although very risky – due to the fluctuations in property prices, supply, demand and other both micro & macro-economic factors – the return on investment is not uncommon to realise 8%, 10% even 20% depending on the countries and regions you are investing in, and the types of real estate assets – i.e. hotel, commercial, mixed-use and residential developments.

Private Equity Debt Funds

Created, raised and managed by professional investment firms and managers, a private equity debt fund is used for making investments in various ‘debt’ securities according to one of the investment strategies associated with private equity. At inception, institutional investors make an unfunded commitment to the limited partnership, which is then drawn over the term of the fund.

Similar to other funds, there are passive and active funds, depending on their level of management, however, as a general rule, they offer less attractive returns for investors. “A debt fund may invest in short-term or long-term bonds, securitised products, money market instruments or floating rate debt. On average, the fee ratios on debt funds are lower than those attached to equity funds because the overall management costs are lower”.