As of July 20, 2020, Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. changed its name to SLGI Asset Management Inc. It will take some time to update our websites, materials and forms and until that is complete, all references to Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) Inc. will mean SLGI Asset Management Inc. We’ve also brought together Sun Life mutual fund, segregated fund, annuity and guaranteed investment product businesses under the collective brand of Sun Life Global Investments.

JPM International Equity

Fund commentary | Q2 2020

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Opinions and commentary provided by JPMorgan Asset Management.

Market review

Global equities witnessed a strong rally during second quarter of 2020. Stocks rebounded as COVID-19 infection rates began to fall in many regions and strong government stimulus measures came into effect. The European Commission’s EUR 750 billion Recovery Fund to support the euro countries and sectors worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic received joint Franco-German support, signaling a step towards deeper fiscal integration.

Globally, the technology sector rallied as semiconductor equipment companies were able to resolve supply-side constraints and several posted an upbeat outlook for the year. Additionally, cyclical sectors such as autos and basic industries outperformed over the quarter on investor optimism of a rapid recovery in demand. Despite a strong rebound in European value stocks in June, growth stocks persistently outperformed at a global level over the quarter, while developed markets outperformed emerging markets.

Portfolio review

The portfolio outperformed its benchmark in the second quarter of 2020. At a sector level, stock selection in financials and real estate contributed to performance, while stock selection in consumer discretionary and health care detracted. At the region level, stock selection in continental Europe and Japan contributed to performance, while stock selection in emerging markets and Asia ex Japan detracted.

Outlook

With cautious moves towards reopening economies, the low point in economic demand has likely passed, and with confidence recovering – albeit from dramatically low levels – a return to some form of normality is possible. However, the portfolio manager believes it could take many quarters to return to pre-crisis levels, and the repair of balance sheets will likely take even longer.

More volatility is likely this year as investors digest the uneven pace of the recovery. There is a risk of resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak and an upcoming U.S. presidential election in November. It has yet to be seen how bond investors react to the steep rise in government debt across the globe, and with downward pressure on retail prices, it remains to be seen whether the threat of deflation returns.

Significant impacts on performance

Contributors

  • Delivery Hero (1.99% portfolio weighting)
    The Germany-based online food-delivery service contributed to returns, as the company benefitted from a consumer shift more toward online food ordering and delivery during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • ASML Holding NV (2.75% portfolio weighting)
    The Dutch supplier of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry contributed to returns. Stock performed well due to ASML’s continued dominance in the industry and ability to add services and software revenue.

Detractors

  • Ping An (2.80% portfolio weighting)
    The Chinese financial services company, detracted from returns. Investors questioned the growth opportunity amidst the low interest rate environment and reforms to its agency force.
  • AIA Group Ltd. (3.20% portfolio weighting)
    The insurance and financial services company, headquartered in Hong Kong, detracted from returns.  Investors questioned the company's near-term growth prospects after learning online sales of life insurance products would be available only to domestic customers, leaving those in Mainland China without the option to purchase a policy online. 

 

Fund performance

Compound returns %1 Since inception2 1 year Q2
Sun Life JPMorgan International Equity Fund - Series A 2,4 2,6 11,5
Sun Life JPMorgan International Equity Fund - Series F 3,5 3,8 11,8
MSCI ACWI ex US Index -0,7 -0,8 11,1

1Returns for periods longer than one year are annualized. Data as of June 30, 2020.

2Partial calendar year. Returns are for the period from the fund’s inception date of July 20, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

Views expressed are those of JPMorgan Asset Management (Canada) Inc., sub-advisor to select Sun Life mutual funds for which

SLGI Asset Management Inc. acts as portfolio manager. Views expressed regarding a particular company, security, industry or market sector should not be considered an indication of trading intent of any mutual funds managed by SLGI Asset Management Inc. These views are not to be considered as investment advice nor should they be considered a recommendation to buy or sell. This commentary is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific individual financial, investment, tax or legal advice. Information contained in this commentary has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made with respect to its timeliness or accuracy.

This commentary may contain forward-looking statements about the economy and markets, their future performance, strategies or prospects or events and are subject to uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are speculative in nature and cannot be relied upon.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Investors should read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.  The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns including changes in security value and reinvestment of all distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or other optional charges or income taxes payable by any security holder that would have reduced returns. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

While Series A and Series F securities have the same reference portfolio, any difference in performance between these series is due primarily to differences in management fees and operating fees. The management fee for Series A securities also includes the trailing commission, while Series F securities does not. Series A securities of the fund are available for purchase to all investors, while Series F securities are only available to investors in an eligible fee-based or wrap program with their registered dealer. Investors in Series F securities may pay a separate fee-based account fee that is negotiated with and payable to their registered dealer.

© SLGI Asset Management Inc., 2020. SLGI Asset Management Inc. is a member of the Sun Life group of companies.