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The absolute return funds, the bitter face of a 2019 where everything goes off



2019 has been the best year for the markets since 2010. All asset classes have skyrocketed and the managers are in luck … except those who manage absolute return funds. Again, these alternative products have disappointed again. In 2018, when everything fell, they failed to finish in green, infringing their commercial motto: always make money, whatever the market does. And, this year, Some funds show significant losses.

The absolute return fund that loses the most this year is precisely the one that rose the most last year. The atl Capital Quant 25, by Juan Antonio Sanz, yields -45%.

Other products that are very affected this year are the Team Trading Sphere, the 1 Kessler Global, the Atl Capital Quant 5 (the second fund in the category that performed best in 2018), the BBVA Absolute Return, the Belgravia Delta, the Global Allocation ( by Luis Bononato), Belgravia Épsilon, Solventis Apolo Absolute Return, Ibercaja Alpha, Santander Return Absolute, KBL Precision Absolute or Quality Global, among others, with setbacks ranging from -24% to -1.3%, according to Morningstar.

These funds are commonly encompassed under the same typology, that of absolute return, although in reality they serve differentiated strategies. There are alternatives multi-strategy, flexible global mixed, neutral equity market, global macro and also long / short equity. Many skins for the same sensation: although not all are equal, since enough have earned money this year, as a whole, the category is far from working.

The optimistic part is that, according to Inverco's annual progress, the absolute return funds have reaped a yield of 3.8% on average during 2019. Their results fit in the upper part of the fork – only positive returns- on which they have swung since birth in 2009, between 0.1% and 4.2%.

But from these figures you can extract three conclusions, and all bad or, at least, regular: the first is that, together, they have won when everyone has also done it; the second, however, is that they have not been unmarked in the years of losses; and the third one is that, even if the category goes up in the years of bonanza like this fruit of the inertia of the market, there are funds that continue doing it very badly. Therefore, if an investor buys such a fund to use as an SUV, due diligence must be even more exquisite than with other funds.


Absolute return funds are not the only discordant note in a year where everything has risen like foam. There are well-known funds among the general public that have also "punctured". Some of them are the Bankinter Eurostoxx Inverse (whose function is to do the opposite of the European stock exchange), the Algar Global Fund (from ‘small European caps’, advised by Jean Claude Felguera, Walter Scherk, Beatriz Paredes and Juan Perea), the Mutuafondo Negativa Duration and the CaixaBank RF Negative Duration (stranded pending a rise in ECB rates that will be made to beg), the Azvalor Capital (charged with cash and public debt) or the Imantia Fondepósito (no longer with extra-typed institutional deposits where to scratch as before). Their losses are between -26.4% and -0.7%.

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