As in other walks of life, things go in and out of fashion in institutional investment. Multi-asset investing is a case in point. Once, a few balanced managers held centre stage in pension fund management in countries like the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Then, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the orthodoxy was for manager diversification using segregated mandates or multi-manager approaches. Faith in the equity market premium was high, as was the thesis espoused by Gary Brinson that asset allocation is the primary driver of portfolio returns, ahead of market timing or stock selection.
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