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The knives are out for underper forming absolute return funds, but are larger strategies really the victims of their own success?

Investment strategies Absolute return

Of all the peer groups in the Investment Association (IA), the Targeted Absolute Return sector is the one that seems to attract all the wrong headlines. Launched in April 2008 as Absolute Return, the sector redefined and renamed as Targeted Absolute Return in June 2013, following a review.

According to the IA, the reason for this was to make sure consumers did not perceive there to be an implicit guarantee of positive returns owing to the name of the sector. Adding the ‘targeted’ cleared any potential confusion, it said.

However, despite the negative attention the market attracts, for the four consecutive months to the end of January 2017 it was the top-performing retail sector. In fact, in 2016 it topped the charts as the bestselling sector, as investors de-risked their portfolios amid economic uncertainty.

Peter Lowman, chief investment officer, Investment Quorum
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