Global Markets Update Signature Global Advisors

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1 SIGNATURE GLOBAL ADVISORS MARKETS UPDATE AUGUST 3, 2011 The following comments come from an internal interview with Chief Investment Officer, Eric Bushell. They represent Signature s current market views and fund positioning. A. Important Portfolio Activity in 2011 to Date: Throughout the second quarter of 2011, Signature sold stocks and some high yield bond positions to raise cash in their portfolios. This was in response to four things: Asset prices that had risen too quickly as a result of the U.S. Federal Reserve s quantitative easing program ( QE2 ). European sovereign debt concerns Dodd Frank and Basel III are two factors reducing liquidity in markets which can amplify volatility Increasing rates of inflation in emerging markets and a response by local governments to tighten monetary policy in order to slow inflation and economic growth. The cash line is now in the low to mid teens in the core Signature funds. More recently, in July, Signature increased gold exposure to between 5% and 7% of the core funds. Currently, on a combined basis, approximately 20% of the assets in each of Signature s equity, balanced and diversified income funds are allocated to cash and gold, which is indicative of Signature s cautious view of current global economic conditions. Further portfolio positioning will be discussed at the end of this update. 2 Queen Street East, Twentieth Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G7 I Head Office / Toronto Calgary Montreal Vancouver Client Services English: French:

2 B. Signature s Regional Views Signature believes we are still in a multi year deleveraging cycle in the USA & Europe; however, a double dip, back into recession, is unlikely in the developed economies. USA: In the U.S., Signature expected the debt ceiling to be raised; however, U.S. fiscal policy is now clearly leaning towards austerity (government spending cuts) which will likely mean slow growth for the foreseeable future. In contrast, U.S. monetary policy via the Federal Reserve will still be easy or supportive. Some version of QE3 is likely; although it is very difficult to anticipate the exact form of the policy response at this time. The net result should further U.S. dollar weakness. Even with austerity measures, it is reasonable to plan for a credit rating downgrade of U.S. debt. This may result in more bond money flowing into what are considered more stable financial markets, such as Switzerland, Norway, Australia and Canada. Signature continues to actively manage the funds currency exposures. The hedge on U.S. dollar exposure (back to the CAD$) is lower right now as commodities have been pulling back and will likely bring the CAD$ down with it. Signature expects to take the hedges back up over time as this plays out. The current hedge ratio is in the 50% to 70% range in the core Signature funds. Europe: It is unlikely that the Euro will disappear; people who believe it will disappear have underestimated the commitment to the concept. Europe needed an immediate capital injection. The announcement by the European Financial Stability Fund of a second international bailout worth 159 Billion Euro helps this process with a 2

3 goal of preventing contagion beyond Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Greece represents only 2% of the European debt market European banks are capable of dealing with a Greek default because they have been building capital. Other countries, Italy for example, have significant re financing requirements over the next few years. Italy changes the dimension of the European problem, and it is likely that commensurate changes will be required from the EFSF lending Fund. We are watching their ability, and their costs, to re finance very closely. We will likely see stifled growth in Europe over the next few years; however, this European growth shock is coming from a mostly positive situation: much needed austerity measures. Emerging Markets: The current slowdown in emerging markets is a speed wobble, not the start of a hard landing. China, for example, is a very resilient economy and will not hard land. Based on current emerging market equity valuations and where each of the key countries are at in their tightening cycles, the speed wobble is still in progress, but almost done. As a result, emerging markets growth will continue to be fairly strong although at a slower pace than the recent past due to higher inflation rates and tighter monetary policy. Emerging markets will be a positive contributor to global growth although not as supportive to the West as was the case since Canada: Canada will continue to be the beneficiary of emerging markets growth (demand for energy, industrials and materials for example), as well as a beneficiary of global capital flows seeking a stable government and a relatively strong sovereign balance sheet (demand for CAD$). 3

4 C. Signature s Asset Class and Sector Views Corporate and High Yield Bonds: Globally, flows to high yield bonds have slowed in Liquidity is down so it is important to be selective in your high yield names. With yields having backed up to 580 bps over treasuries, Signature believes the high yield bond market offers fair value and favours high yield over governments and investment grade. Consumer Stocks: The weaker purchasing power of U.S. consumers will be evident this fall as prices of goods rise against flat wages. This contrasts with stronger purchasing power for Emerging Market consumers where strong local currencies and local wage gains continue broadly. The increasing domestic consumption power of emerging markets will fuel demand for globally branded consumer staples and discretionary items. Multi national consumer companies, domiciled in the U.S. and Europe, and offering luxury, branded goods will continue to be attractive investments. Infrastructure: The sector is still very interesting as a lot of supply comes to market via European government asset sales. These inflation protected assets are very attractive to the bond/fixed income refugee who isn t interested in today s low sovereign bond yields. Real Estate: Similar to infrastructure, commercial real estate and property is an inflation hedged asset which is attractive to the bond investor seeking yield. Although in some cases, real estate looks overvalued, Signature expects demand for the asset class to continue as an attractive yield alternative in a slow economic growth environment. 4

5 I.T.: There are a lot of U.S. based companies with very high quality balance sheets that are a play on increasing corporate productivity at a time when corporations are wary of adding staff. Valuations have come down as the stocks have been hit recently. Signature is looking to buy more here. Healthcare: Again, strong balance sheets, sustainable dividend yields, and valuations that are still low/reasonable make health care an attractive sector for Signature. Both U.S. and European based companies in this sector are attractive. Resources and Industrials: Growth in emerging markets will continue to put a bid on commodities and related industries which is positive for the energy (oil, coal) and materials sectors (Agriculture) as well as for industrials (chemicals, rails). Globally, the aerospace replacement cycle is in full swing and supportive of manufacturers and their suppliers. 5

6 D. Signature s Fund Views For investors seeking income, a government bond portfolio will only generate 1% to 3% returns over the next 5 years, likely below the annual inflation rate. For a better chance of beating inflation, turn to more diversified income funds like: CI s Select Income Advantage Corporate Class Fund (the SIA fund) with a neutral position of 40% exposure to corporate debt, 40% exposure to government debt and 20% exposure to high dividend, high quality equities. It has an average credit rating of A, duration of 5.0 years and gross yield of 4.3%. CI Income Advantage Fund the same portfolio as SIA but in mutual fund trust format with a tax effective, fixed monthly per unit distribution, primarily return of capital. Signature Corporate Bond a current 40% exposure to government and investment grade bonds and a 60% exposure to high yield bonds. It has an average credit rating of BB+, duration of 4.2 years and a gross yield of 6.4%. It is also available in corporate class without the monthly distribution. For investors seeking a total return, actively managed funds that hold a selective mix of bonds and stocks will be capable of generating 5% to 7% returns in a low growth world. Key funds in the Signature line up that fit this profile are: Signature Diversified Yield a diversified income fund split between real estate, infrastructure, high dividend stocks and high yield bonds. It has a global mandate with a 5.7% current portfolio gross yield and pays a tax effective, monthly distribution primarily return of capital. It is also available in corporate class format without the monthly distribution. Signature High Income a diversified income fund split between real estate, infrastructure, high dividend stocks and high yield bonds. It has a Canadian mandate with a gross yield of 5.9%. It pays a monthly distribution of income, capital gains and return of capital. It is also available in corporate class format without the monthly distribution. 6

7 Signature Income & Growth a balanced fund split between equities, real estate, infrastructure, high yield bonds, investment grade bonds and government bonds. It has a Canadian mandate with a portfolio gross yield of 3.6%. It pays a monthly distribution of income, capital gains and returns of capital. It is also available in corporate class format without the monthly distribution. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. This commentary is provided as a general source of 7

8 information and should not be considered personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities. 8

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