Inside a Top-Performing Multi-Asset Fund
Bob Browne is an executive vice president and chief investment officer for Northern Trust. He is a member of Northern Trust's operating group and management group. He is also co-portfolio manager of the Northern Global Tactical Asset Allocation Fund (BBALX).
Bob chairs the firm’s investment policy committee, which sets investment policy for all Northern Trust groups in all asset classes. He is responsible for the investment group which manages multiple investment strategies including fixed income, active equity and passive investments. Bob joined Northern Trust in January 2009 and has more than 25 years of investment experience.
From 2004 until 2009, Bob worked for ING Investment Management and was the firm’s chief investment officer for fixed income and proprietary investments. In this capacity, he oversaw $120 billion in assets under management across retail and institutional clients, as well as the firm’s own insurance assets. From 2002 to 2004, Bob was founder and managing partner of Picador Capital, an alternative investment firm. From 1999 to 2001, he was co-head of Americas fixed income for Merrill Lynch Investments and he also worked in the firm’s London office from 1997 to 1999 as a senior portfolio manager. Bob spent the first eight years of his career, from 1989 until 1997, at JP Morgan Investment working as a global fixed income and currency portfolio manager in the firm’s Tokyo and London offices.
Bob holds a B.A. with a major in economics from the College of the Holy Cross. He also has a Masters in international business studies from the University of South Carolina. Bob is a holder of the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.
As of March 31, 2018, over the last 10 years, the BBALX’s annual return was 5.84%, versus 5.15% for a benchmark consisting of 60% MSCI All Country World Index and 40% Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, and versus 4.74% for its Morningstar peer group. Click here to see current Fund Performance. It is in the 16th percentile of its Morningstar peer group over that period and has an overall four-star rating from Morningstar.
What’s the objective of the Northern Global Tactical Asset Allocation Fund and how does it seek to meet it?
BBALX is a multi-asset strategy that seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation and current income by investing primarily in ETFs and mutual funds. In addition, the fund looks to outperform a balanced (60/40) mix of stocks and bonds while assuming a lower risk profile. To do this, we have three levers: strategic allocation, tactical investing and the use of factor-based investing. Our strategic approach includes asset classes such as high yield and real assets to increase diversification. We also can be responsive to changing market conditions through tactical investing, where we may choose to overweight or underweight our longer-term strategic views. Finally, we select factor-based investment strategies constructed using equity factors that have historically demonstrated the ability to outperform the broad market or traditional cap-weighted indexes.
The common denominator across all three is a focus on taking risks for which we will be compensated in the form of excess returns.