The Legg Mason Western Asset Australian Bond Fund has passed $1 billion in funds under management for the first time since it was launched.
The actively managed fund is designed to outperform the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Year Index.
Led by veteran fixed income investor Anthony Kirkham and is supported by Western Asset’s extensive local and global resources, the fund typically invests in Australian dollar-denominated debt securities paying fixed or floating rate coupons issued by governments, supranational bodies and Australian and foreign corporates.
A listed version of the fund was launched in November 2018 as an active ETF – the BetaShares Legg Mason Australian Bond, Australia’s first fixed income active ETF.
Legg Mason managing director, Australia and New Zealand, Andy Sowerby, said the fund manager has long argued that investors hold too little fixed income in portfolios.
“We felt this had to change driven by two factors: a continued fall in the RBA cash rate allied to increasing concerns around the future returns of risk assets,” he said.
“To help investors deal with these forces we have purposefully developed a broad range of fixed income solutions and have seen strong interest and growth across the entire set.”
Mr Kirkham, head of investment management and Australian operations at Western Asset, explained that with equity market volatility increasing, as well as broader concerns around global growth and political outcomes, the defensive qualities of a well-constructed bond fund can add much-needed diversification and protection to an overall portfolio.