Best Fund Provider Equity Income
Best Fund Provider – Equity Income
managing director, portfolio manager, ClearBridge Investments
“On behalf of the Infrastructure Team at ClearBridge Investments we are humbled to be recognised by Asian Private Banker as the Best Fund Provider – Equity Income. This prestigious award means a lot and we are thankful to our clients for their support and proud to have delivered such compelling results for investors in Asia in what has been an extremely challenging period.
In an environment where the path of rates, inflation and an uncertain growth outlook continues to cause volatility in markets, infrastructure has historically been shown to provide attractive income, inflation protection and diversification to portfolios. The ClearBridge Infrastructure Team focuses solely on regulated and contracted utilities and user-pay assets which can deliver stable cash flows, dividends and ultimately total shareholder returns from these essential assets.
These assets benefit from multi-decade tailwinds such as the investment required to meet net zero emissions targets and improvements in both physical and digital connectivity. ClearBridge’s benchmark-agnostic portfolio construction approach gives it the flexibility to capture this opportunity while managing risk in the portfolio.
Partnering with our parent company, Franklin Templeton, we are committed to growing our business in the region by combining an exceptional local presence with an expanded range of innovative ClearBridge equity products to meet the needs of clients in the Asia-Pacific.”
2022 was undoubtedly a year where the need for income gained increased significance for investors. Income funds, in particular, became popular products with private banking clients in 2022, and infrastructure strategies were a bright spot in the search for yield.
Launched in 2021, Legg Mason ClearBridge Global Infrastructure Income Fund from Franklin Templeton follows a global listed infrastructure Strategy that ClearBridge has been managing for over 12 years. The Fund invests at least 80% of its assets in shares of infrastructure companies worldwide, including companies from developed and emerging market countries. It aims to provide income consisting of dividends and interest while achieving long-term capital growth.
ClearBridge’s specialist infrastructure investment team finds opportunities by constructing an investable universe of approximately 175 infrastructure companies. These companies must have a long life span, offer predictable cash flows, have low earnings volatility, benefit from inflation protection of cash flows or assets, and operate in the infrastructure sector (where the high barriers to entry limit the competition).
With the economic outlook softening and equities weakness driven by fast-moving events such as aggressive rate hikes globally and the war in Ukraine, infrastructure’s more predictable cash flows have been looking attractive to investors. Infrastructure returns are underpinned by regulation or long-term concession agreements linked to the investment plans in these essential assets, which are often visible many years into the future. This provides considerable predictability of cashflows and dividends compared to more volatile equities or REITs. Furthermore, the generational move towards decarbonisation is a strong tailwind for the asset class leading to an acceleration of asset base growth, driving cash flows, dividends and total returns for investors..
Despite being launched only in 2021, Legg Mason ClearBridge Global Infrastructure Income Fund had already been onboarded by 13 private banks in Asia in 2022, with the number of distributors increasing from 6 to 13 YoY.
As of the end of August 2022, the Fund had netted US$311.22 million across its distribution channels in Asia.
For these reasons, Franklin Templeton wins Best Fund Provider – Equity Income in Asian Private Banker’s 2023 Asset Management Awards for Excellence.
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