The Bogleheads forum is buzzing with news that Vanguard has set up an Alternative Strategies Fund in Dublin and filed for “exemptive relief” to allow its US Managed Payouts Funds to invest in the newfangled creature.
Vanguard is cherished by its investors partly for sticking to simple investing formulas that keep costs as low as possible. It is unsettling for them to see the mutual fund group setting off down a path labelled “alternative”. It smacks of hedge funds and other horrors.
Mark Dampier is enjoying the move by hedge funds into the retail investment market via Ucits III. The head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown was wary of absolute return funds when they first appeared. I spoke to him when BlackRock (then Merrill Lynch Investment Management) launched its Absolute Alpha fund in 2006, and he said he would wait to see if it worked before making any judgements.
Lower risk funds “have to be bang on right”, he said at the time.
Now, he is a fan, with the caveat that the absolute return sector is a mixed bag and some funds are difficult to analyse. The BlackRock fund “did what it said on the tin”, he reckons.