2020, a year that will be marked in history by a pandemic that had devastating effects on global health and economic activity to individuals and nations across the world.
In financial markets, the effects of the pandemic set forth a rollercoaster of volatility that spotlighted the fundamental role of bonds in investment portfolios.
Making the case for bonds just 12 months ago would have been a difficult task. In June 2019, the share market was experiencing its eleventh straight year of growth following the GFC – the ASX 200 was a mere 500 points from its all-time record of 7,145. Equities were on an unbelievable bull run, and what was to make anyone believe that this would not continue? Investor portfolios had not been tested in any serious fashion for more than a decade.
When markets feel at their best is perhaps when it is most paramount for investors to keep a perspective on their long-term goals. Whether those goals be for life in retirement, to ensure a well-being for others, or for philanthropy, an investment portfolio likely entails a multi-decade horizon, and as a result, needs the ability to withstand the machinations of markets over various periods.
Going back to June 2019, many an investor considering a rebalance of their portfolio would have questioned the logic of diversifying away from outperforming growth assets – equities – and reallocating to bonds. High-quality bonds are boring – they are often synonymous with stability and income. It would have felt like leaving money on the table.
The vanilla nature of high-quality, investment grade bonds, would have lulled many an investor into overlooking one of their most alluring aspects during the past decade's equity run. Bonds are a diversifier in an investor's portfolio, serving as a ballast to equities in a market downturn. While there is a spectrum of bond offerings in the market, we are focusing this conversation on investment grade bonds and the role they play in a diversified portfolio.
The market volatility during the first half of 2020 starkly displayed the differing characteristics between equities and other growth assets and bonds. This period provides valuable insights for investors managing a long term portfolio; specifically, how bonds can reduce all-in losses versus an all equity asset mix.
The chart below compares the daily return of a global bond and global equity portfolio between January and June of 2020, scaled to 100 at the start of the year. The first thing that jumps out is the deep “V” of equities in March relative to the muted dip in bonds. Both asset classes experienced a period of negative returns, but of significantly different magnitudes. Equities have yet to fully recover. Equity optimists may raise the point to the recovery of equities over a longer horizon, however, this article is not an argument against the long term benefits of equity exposure, but rather how the two asset classes complement each other in a portfolio.
The wild, daily swings in March and April were enough to unnerve any investor, and the trap for investors was selling equities when things felt their worst – participating in the downswing, locking in losses, and missing the opportunity to partake in the recovery. Exposure to investment grade bonds during this period served as a cushion, dampening overall portfolio volatility and potential losses, leaving an investor better placed to ride out the volatility and experience the equity rebound.
The table below compares global and local equity and investment grade bond returns over the first half of the year. This period was exceptionally volatile, but it does a nice job at illustrating the diversifying effect of bonds in a portfolio. Over longer, less volatile periods, while the balancing benefit of bonds is more subtle, they still produce value for a long-term investor, especially if short term market conditions trigger the need for realisation of losses in an overweight equity position.
So, just as the chart above demonstrates the stability provided by bonds, the table below shows the benefit in times of volatility. While the prima facie return from bonds is modest across different phases of the first half of 2020, the differential with equities is large, as seen with the far right columns. The comparative out performance of bonds is in double digits for the half year, the first quarter and the month of March.
Bond vs Stocks (Global)
Bond vs Stocks (Australian)
Global Bond: Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Float Adjusted Index Australian Bond: Bloomberg AusBond Composite Index Global Equity: FTSE Global All Cap Index Australian Equity: S&P/ASX 200 Index
So here we are, in the second half of 2020, post one of the shortest and sharpest bear markets in history – and many investors who were overweight in higher risk asset classes would have coveted the downside protection that high quality bonds would have provided. Even though equities have partially rebounded, most markets are sitting on losses year-to-date. Those with little diversification away from equities are probably feeling better now than in March, although the sting may not have fully worn off.
Looking ahead, there remains a cloud of uncertainty for global health, economies, and markets as a result of COVID-19. Recent history has shown there is no better time to appreciate and utilise the benefits of investment grade bonds in your portfolio. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of bonds available for investment, and each type and class play a role in a diversified portfolio depending on your investment goals, risk aversion, and time horizon. High yield, lower quality bonds might fit in one person's portfolio but not another's. High yield bonds do not provide the same degree of diversification from equity behaviour as do investment grade bonds. For this reason, investors need to make sure they understand what their portfolio's bond allocation is exposed to.
Whether you prefer index investing, active funds, or a mix of both, be sure you consider the benefit of diversification and the crucial role that bonds can play within your portfolio. For those uncomfortable making the asset allocation between growth assets and bonds, there are diversified fund options to ensure you can still include a bond component in your portfolio.
As always this should entail a consideration of your long term goals, risk appetite and the fees you will be paying. That way, the lessons of 2020 will ensure bonds will be an important part of helping you achieve your investment goals, whatever they may be.
Geoff Parrish Head of Fixed Income Group, Asia-Pacific 28 July 2020 vanguardinvestments.com.au
An iteration of this article was first published in The AFR on 29 July 2020.
General Advice Warning: The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.
Retiring on your own terms is not always easy to achieve, however it is evident that those who plan for retirement are more likely to do so. Results also show that obtaining professional help during the pre-retirement years further improves the probability of attaining your retirement objectives.
The earlier you start implementing a plan the better the outcomes.
During one’s working life there is always an income to make ends meet when raising children, paying off a mortgage, etc.
Retirement planning is about the lifestyle you will have after you stop work and receiving employment income. Planning focuses on issues such as how much superannuation is enough, taking a super pension, claiming the Age Pension, making superannuation contributions while receiving a pension from a super fund, estate planning and looking after your family.
Planning properly is becoming even more important now we are expected to live longer. This greater need means that professional help has never been more important.
At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best pre-retirement plan possible. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together on: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Investing your hard earned savings can be a complex task. There are many issues such as levels of risk, market timing, asset classes, and your own goals, objectives and preferences that need to be considered. It can often seem a daunting task. At Wybenga Financial we have the expertise to assist you in taking control of your finances and making sure you are generating the wealth you need both now and in the future.
The first step is to create a plan. At Wybenga Financial we take great care in getting to know our clients and their future goals and objectives. We combine our knowledge of your personal goals together with an analysis of your current situation, to create a detailed, personalised plan that will help you meet your objectives. This plan will become your road map which outlines how we are going to meet your goals, whilst aligning all investment decisions to your specific risk tolerance.
After we have created your personal plan, we move to implementation. This is where we action the immediate changes set out in your plan, and put in place reminders for anything that is to occur in the future. As your professional advisers, we can action many steps on your behalf making the implementation of changes as painless for our clients as possible. We aim to make the process smooth and seamless, providing a holistic service that can be executed with ease.
The final and most important phase of the relationship with Wybenga Financial is the ongoing management and monitoring of your wealth. This ensures you are sticking to your plan and that your portfolio is aligned to your needs and attitude toward risk. An ongoing relationship ensures that we know when your circumstances change and that these can be recognised and reflected in changes to your investment approach.
While we are monitoring your portfolio from the perspective of your personal goals and situation, we also take into account the wider economic landscape and changes to legislation. We continually review and analyse our preferred investments in a structured and objective way. The benefit to our clients is that we are unemotional. This can be significantly beneficial over the long term.
At Wybenga Financial we can provide the time and expertise that will help you invest intelligently and prudently. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Life insurance isn’t just a cost, though it often feels like it. You buy peace-of-mind that should a serious issue effect you then the consequences won’t unduly affect your family. Insurance provides you with the ability to manage the financial and emotional impact of some of the more drastic events, whether personally or in your small business.
Insurance can’t replace a loved one but it can help reduce the financial burden by providing the capital to ensure your family has choices.
Many Australians are underinsured and the consequences can be very serious for families should there be a death or serious injury. A yes to any of the following questions means you may have a need for insurance coverage:
Do you have a mortgage?
Do you have school fees?
Do you have any personal loans?
Do you have any credit card debt?
Do you have dependents?
Would your financial position be affected if you were to suffer from an illness or injury?
Do you want to have enough capital to look after your dependents if you were unable to care for them for an extended period of time or perhaps indefinitely?
We understand that it can be difficult determining the type and level of cover you might need, let alone choosing an insurer. We can assist by helping you determine your needs and recommend an insurer that is right for you.
At Wybenga Financial we know how to protect your wealth and will recommend solutions that best suit your needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Superannuation is mandatory but taking an early and active interest in your retirement planning is critical to ensuring your benefits are maximised by the time you retire. Many will have a superannuation scheme through employment but increasing numbers are starting their own Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).
For many, simply relying on employer contributions may not be enough to provide the lifestyle you desire at retirement. We can assist in building strategies to ensure your retirement goals are met and your required lifestyle is maintained throughout retirement.
It is always best to start saving and planning for your retirement as early as you can.
At Wybenga Financial we know our job is to help you meet your retirement needs and we have the skills and experience to do this for you. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Self Managed Super Funds
Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) offer a good strategy option for many individuals, families and small business owners to build tax effective wealth and to protect assets over time. SMSFs are becoming popular for those who are ready to take control of their own super investments as they give you ultimate control and flexibility to manage your retirement benefits.
It must be noted though, that you will have increased responsibilities as a trustee of the fund. As a SMSF Trustee you need to keep up to date with all required regulations and keep up with the fast paced financial markets.
Wybenga Financial can work with you to understand your personal financial situation and decide whether a SMSF structure is appropriate for you. We will also make sure your assets are invested in the most effective way to maximise your retirement benefits.
Should you wish to consider establishing a SMSF then we can help with all aspects of the process from establishment to managing your compliance obligations.
Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help maximise your opportunities to grow your wealth through a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF). Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Your estate is made up of everything you own. This includes your home, property, furniture, car, personal possessions, business, investments, superannuation and bank accounts.
Having an estate plan is extremely important. Having a will is just the first step in your estate plan. It is critical to consider what outcomes you would like for your estate and to ensure a plan is in place to achieve those outcomes, both including and beyond the terms of your will.
Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help ensure your estate is organised to ensure your plans are implemented as you wish. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Loans and loan management are central to overall financial management. Obtaining the best loans for your needs is crucial and Wybenga Financial can help you with solutions that meet your short and long term needs.
At Wybenga Financial we work with experienced mortgage brokers that can assist you in obtaining the best loan for your needs and objectives. Whilst this is an external service, we work closely with the brokers to ensure the process is as easy and smooth as possible.
Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
We have partnerships with many respected property agents and research firms. This enables us to source suitable properties for individuals, couples and families looking to make an investment into property.
At Wybenga Financial we will provide the time and expertise needed to help you implement the best property investment plan possible. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Strategic planning is determining how an investor is going to meet their goals and objectives. It is about helping clients define their goals, gathering information and analysing data to make a plan, then implementing the plan and monitoring the results. It is also monitoring and updating goals and objectives as clients move through different phases of life.
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Please enjoy the links to these free tools supplied by MoneySmart – a great resource for general financial information. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any questions that you may have as a result of using these calculators.
Tess has over 22-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.
Over the last seven-years, Tess has turned her attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.
Tess’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of her Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.
As a woman in a male dominated field, Tess is active in promoting gender equality in the industry through various programs and mentoring opportunities.
Using her depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Tess is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.
2001 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
2004 – Graduated Masters of Commerce from the University of New South Wales
2005 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
2007 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial
B.Bus, B.Sc, CA, DipFP
Adam has over 18-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.
Over the last seven-years, Adam has turned his attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.
Adam’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of his Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.
Combining traditional accounting and financial services has been a welcome move for Adam, allowing him to operate and advise in the financial sector that has been a long time personal passion.
Using his depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Adam is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.
2005 – Graduated Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Sydney
2005 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
2007 – Graduated Bachelor of Business from the University of Western Sydney
2010 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
2010 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial
What is an Advisory Cadetship? An Advisory Cadetship enables you to commence your career whilst attaining the necessary university qualifications by studying part-time.
How does it work? Generally, our cadets complete a relevant business or accounting degree at the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, or the University of Western Sydney.
The Firm provides 3-hours paid study leave per week to attend university. This can either be taken at the one time or broken between days depending on the individual’s requirements. In addition, the Firm provides paid study leave for both mid-semester and end-of-year exams.
We take the work life balance very seriously at Wybenga Financial and our cadets are encouraged to have a fulfilling life outside the office. A typical day will have you arriving at the office at around 8.30am with most days concluding at 5.30pm.
What are the benefits of an Advisory Cadetship with Wybenga Financial? Our cadets benefit from the following:
Career path – on completion of their degree our cadets have significant practical experience which will assist them in advancing their careers
Work helps your studies – by working full-time our cadets are able to apply their practical knowledge in the university subjects
Camaraderie with other cadets – the Firm has a number of cadets at various stages of their career
Mentoring – cadets are paired with a senior staff member who oversees their progress and training both at work and with their studies
Communication and feedback – the Firm has an open door policy which enables all cadets to interact with all members of staff including Directors
Culture – the Firm promotes a friendly social culture with a number of functions throughout the year
Modern environment – including ‘socialising’ areas such as pool table and break out area
Training – ongoing support and technical training. We also provide internal and external training on a monthly basis
Remuneration – working full-time provides a market salary and independence with salaries being reviewed every 6-months
What happens when I complete my degree? The completion of your degree is the first step of what we hope to be a long and successful career with us. The next step is the commencement of a Diploma of Financial Planning followed by completing the requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
There are always progression opportunities for the right cadets and we are dedicated to the long term development of our staff.
Who should apply? Current Year 12 students or first/second year University Students who:
want to commence their career in financial advisory;
are due to commence or are currently completing a part-time business or commerce degree at university with an advisory major;
want to gain valuable hands-on experience while completing their qualifications;
are looking for a friendly working environment;
are team players who display initiative;
have a commitment to self-development;
possess excellent personal presentation and communication skills; and
are motivated and mature minded.
How do I apply for an Advisory Cadetship? To apply for a Cadetship position at Wybenga Financial send us your details. Please also include in your covering letter why you wish to do a cadetship, include relevant qualities you possess, main interests / achievements, and any previous employment.
Interested candidates should initially forward a resume/covering letter of no more than 3-pages. Please provide full details of contact information (telephone or e-mail).
What if I have more questions? For further information about our Cadetship program, please send your enquiry to .