There's nothing wrong with a mutual fund that mixes stocks, bonds and REITs. In fact, a multi-asset fund offers a more strategic alternative for some investors, says Rob Balkema, portfolio manager for the Russell Multi-Strategy Income Fund (RMYSX).
"The outcome oriented approach of multi-asset and having it all in one basket, trying to meet an income need but also a total return long goal is what is crucial here," said Balkema. "Having varied asset classes allows us to play them off of one another to meet that long-term objective."
Balkema's Russell Multi-Strategy Income Fund is a globally diversified, multi-asset portfolio, which includes global equities, listed infrastructure, global REITs, emerging market debt and global credit.
The fund is up 4.9% thus far in 2016, according to Morningstar. The $271 million fund is down 54 basis points in the past 12 months, outpacing 62% of its Morningstar rivals. The fund sports a trailing 12-month yield of 3.4%, according to Morningstar.
In the global equity sleeve, Balkema says the key to picking stocks is their "ability to pay".
"We've seen more and more dividend cuts around the globe, especially in the oil sector," says Balkema. "And many people have reached for dividend yield where the ability to pay really wasn't there in the future. So I'm looking for companies where the dividend yield is sustainable and growing through time."
When it comes to REITs, Balkema says lots of money has already flowed into the real estate vehicles due to the low-yield environment, so it may be time to lighten up.
"We think the rising interest-rate environment will cause a headwind to those areas," says Balkema.
As for the bond side of his multi-asset fund, Balkema says his fund is currently underweight emerging-market fixed income due to the fundamentals of the sector. And he likes high yield, but "not as much as we did a couple months ago" when spreads were wider.