Launch of the Legg Mason Western Asset Global Bond Fund announced

Legg Mason, one of the world’s leading asset managers, today announces the launch of a new global bond fund for Australian investors. Managed by its affiliate Western Asset, the Legg Mason Western Asset Global Bond Fund is designed to offer investors exposure to an actively managed global bond fund, benchmarked to the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index.

Anthony Kirkham, Head of Investments at Western Asset Australia, says “We believe global bonds offer a compelling investment opportunity. Global fixed income is the largest and most diverse asset class. It provides stable income with lower volatility thus improving the predictability of overall portfolio returns.”

“This diverse asset class provides extensive opportunities for a well-resourced and experienced team like ours to add additional value over and above the benchmark for investors. This is an important consideration going forward as manager outperformance is going to make up a larger component of overall portfolio returns.”

“The fund seeks to add value while actively controlling risk. Investments are made across a wide range of markets and economies each bringing unique characteristics. Western Asset employs multiple strategies across interest rate duration, yield curve, sector rotation and security selection, country and currency selection to add value and diversify risk to exploit inefficiencies and add value for investors. Results do not depend on one or two opportunities and no single adverse event should have an overwhelming effect.”

“The fund invests at least 85 per cent of assets in core investment grade fixed income sectors in developed markets and has the ability to allocate up to 15 per cent to high yield and emerging market debt. The breadth of the fund’s investment universe covers government and corporate bonds, high yield debt, mortgage and asset-back securities and emerging market bonds. A minimum of 85 per cent of the securities will be listed or traded in regulated markets in OECD countries and have a long-term debt rating of BBB- or higher. The other 15 per cent can be invested in securities rated below investment grade, but must still be B- by S&P or its equivalent.

Kirkham added that “the fund’s diversified strategies make it an ideal investment for retail investors”.

Western Asset has extensive experience in global fixed income investment management and employs a disciplined investment approach. Established in 1971, the firm is one of world’s largest fixed income managers with offices in eight countries and 125 investment professionals covering all global bond sectors and focused on managing fixed income assets.

Andy Sowerby, Country Head and Managing Director Legg Mason said “Legg Mason’s affiliates manage fixed income assets in excess of A$650bn* for a global client base of sovereign wealth, public & corporate pensions, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, private banks, family offices and individual investors.”

“The launch of this fund is another key plank in our market leading fixed income offering which is designed to meet the increasingly specific needs of clients to help them tailor portfolios to meet long term investment goals. Currently, there are very few ‘true to label’ global bond options available for financial advisers. Western Asset has a deeply resourced investment team and proven track record of outperformance in global bonds and I consider there to be a great opportunity for our firm to deepen our competitive presence in this key asset class. ”

“Available with a minimum investment of $30,000, the fund provides core exposure to global fixed income securities making it an attractive solution for a well-balanced and diversified portfolio.”

“This fund has been launched to build on the success of the award winning Legg Mason Western Asset Australian Bond Trust. Independent research houses Lonsec and Zenith have both awarded “Highly Recommended” ratings to the Legg Mason Western Asset Australian Bond Trust,” noted Sowerby.

*As at 30 September 2016

About Western Asset

Western Asset, with more than A$600 Billion in assets under management as at 30 September 2016 is one of the world’s leading fixed-income managers. From offices in Pasadena, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, New York, São Paulo, Singapore, Tokyo and Dubai, the company provides investment services for a wide variety of global clients, across an equally wide variety of mandates. Western Asset’s long performance track record and global presence have positioned the company to continue its commitment to excellence in fixed-income investment management and client service.

About Legg Mason

Legg Mason is one of the world’s largest funds management groups, with a history that dates back to 1899. The firm is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and employs approximately 3,100 employees in 31 offices worldwide. One of Legg Mason’s most distinguishing characteristics is its global multi-affiliate model. Legg Mason provides a global platform and centralised business and distribution support for its nine affiliated fund managers that include: Brandywine, Clarion Partners, ClearBridge, EntrustPermal, Martin Currie, RARE (in addition to its own domestic distribution), Royce & Associates, QS Investors and Western Asset. Each affiliate operates independently under its own brand and investment process, and is considered an industry expert in its asset class. Legg Mason offers a diverse set of investment solutions across institutional, wealth management and direct investor channels, covering a range of asset classes including Australian equities, global equities, fixed income, real assets, income, alternatives, emerging markets, direct lending and multi-asset products.

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