Billion dollar baby

25 September 2012

Standard Life Investments, the global fund manager today welcomed the announcement by US financial services giant, John Hancock, that its Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund (JHAAX) has crossed the $1 billion assets under management mark in just nine months.

Achieving this milestone in such a short period of time makes it one of the fastest-growing funds ever for John Hancock. Many of the top U.S. investment firms have added the JHAAX fund to their recommended lists.

In January this year, Standard Life Investments teamed up with John Hancock Mutual Funds to make its award-winning Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS) Fund available to the United States retail marketplace.

The fund was named John Hancock Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund, and placed in the Speciality Fund Category with Standard Life Investments providing portfolio management services as sub-adviser. The fund is available both as a stand-alone member of the John Hancock family of retail funds, and also as a component of the John Hancock Alternative Asset Allocation fund as well as several of the John Hancock Lifestyle funds.

Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Life Investments, said:

"After working with John Hancock intensively for more than a year to make the GARS mutual fund a reality, we are gratified that it has shown great strength in such a short period of time. Given the continued stresses in the global economy and volatility in the markets, we believe the GARS strategy is an effective way to deliver long-term equity-like returns with lower levels of volatility for global clients.

"In addition, working with John Hancock Funds has allowed us to widen our distribution footprint in North America, accessing the largest asset management market in the world."

The JHAAX Fund seeks to provide consistent, positive investment returns in all market conditions. The Fund has a broad investment mandate that permits it to use an extensive range of investment strategies and to invest in a wide spectrum of equity and fixed-income securities, as well as derivative instruments, in pursuing its investment objective.

Andrew G. Arnott, President and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Funds said:

"Launching the John Hancock GARS Fund last December realised a key part of our strategy of providing investors and financial advisors exclusive access to an array of alternative investing strategies managed by premier, institutional-calibre investment management firms.

"In the case of John Hancock’s GARS fund, that meant choosing Standard Life Investments, one of the world’s leading managers of absolute return strategies with more than $27 billion of assets under management in GARS 1. Having offered this strategy in Europe for almost seven years, Standard Life Investments is one of the few absolute return managers with real world experience managing through various market cycles.

"Contributing significantly to the rapid asset growth of GARS has been and continues to be its addition to ‘model portfolios’ or ‘recommended lists’ at many of the top national investment firms, while retail demand has steadily accelerated. We are pleased that the Fund has performed well and been well-received.

"Our decision to launch the Fund stemmed from conversations with advisers who needed to offer investors ways to incorporate truly uncorrelated liquid alternatives into their portfolios. Following an extensive research and due diligence process by John Hancock Investment Management Services, the group designed to identify best in class managers, we selected Standard Life Investments after numerous discussions and multiple in-person visits to their home office. What impressed us the most was the size and experience of the team that supported the strategy and how they worked together to execute the approach. Also critical was their focus on risk management. That the Fund has attracted more than $1 billion in assets thus far we see as a validation of our process and strategy."

1. At 30/06/12