Investment firm Fortress Fund Managers is reporting overall positive returns for its second quarter ending June 30.
However, with ongoing international trade tensions putting increased pressure on investments globally, and a slow down in the global economy, officials are cautiously optimistic about future prospects.
For the review period the company recorded “new all-time highs” in net asset values and total assets, Chief Investment Officer Peter Arender revealed during a Lunch and Learn session at the company’s Hinks Street, Bridgetown location on Wednesday.
“The first quarter of 2019 was very positive and the second quarter was also positive. We found positive returns in both of our main Barbados Funds – the Fortress Caribbean Growth Fund and the Caribbean High Interest Fund,” said Arender.
The Caribbean Growth Fund gained 1.9 per cent for the second quarter to reach 5.2 per cent over the previous year, while the Caribbean High Interest Fund gained one per cent for the quarter over the previous year
Arender explained that the returns in the Caribbean Growth Fund were especially driven by the buoyancy in the Jamaica Stock Market, while the positive gains on the Caribbean High Interest Fund were influenced partly by a decline in global interest rates.
“So pretty much everywhere we invest, for the second quarter, would have generated positive returns. Looking forward, global interest rates again are back near historic lows,” he said.
Net asset value for the Caribbean Growth Fund finished at $6.1238 at the end of June, while the net assets of the fund were $484 million, up from $460 million for the same period last year.
The net asset value of the Caribbean High Interest Fund accumulation share finished at $1.9771, while the distribution share finished at $1.0084 as at the end of June this year. The net assets of this fund were $137 million, up from $133 million for the same period last year.
The classes of shares for the company’s Pension Fund rose between 1.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent in the second quarter, to gain between 1.2 per cent and 4.5 per cent over the past year.
Despite the positive results, officials said they were keeping a close eye on international developments including the ongoing trade tensions.
Arender said “at the moment the challenges that seem to be facing the markets would have to do with trade frictions which possibly could even be broadened to be geopolitical friction having an economic basis”.
“Slowing global economies I think would be the second issue possibly. Set against that, in some cases through sections especially in the US equity market, I would say evaluations are a bit of an issue where they become quite high. So we need to be selective in how we invest as a result,” added Arender.
“We don’t want to get too optimistic after positive things have happened nor do we want to be too pessimistic when the news is bad,” he said.
Insisting that the fund was careful to invest in “good companies at reasonable prices”, Arender said while growth has been harder to come by in the region for various sectors they were still in a position to make money.
“It is hard to say that there is one industry or another that we prefer, but it goes back to wherever there is a good company that we can buy at a reasonable price that is going to get us as interested, but there are always companies making earnings and that is where we focus our energy,” said Arender.