SciVest broadens strategy offering with five new funds

Alternative investment specialist SciVest Alternative Strategies Inc is broadening its strategy offering with the launch of five new funds.

The new range of funds is aimed at meeting increasing investor demand for a more extensive mix of risk-managed products.

According to SciVest, the SciVest Oil Sands Index PLUS Fund, SciVest Income Portfolio PLUS Fund, SciVest Commodity Index PLUS Fund, SciVest Asia Pacific Long-Short Equity Fund and SciVest Aggressive Market Neutral Equity Fund seek to provide investors with choice and flexibility to manage the risk characteristics of their portfolio, minimize volatility and market risk, and potentially enhance portfolio returns.  

'Essentially, we are realigning our Market Neutral franchise of funds, expanding our Beta-Controlled franchise of funds, and introducing our PLUS franchise of funds,' says Dr John J Schmitz, President and CEO of SciVest Capital Management Inc. 'Although Market Neutral will remain a core strategy, we believe that Beta Controlled funds are a useful investment tool in the current market environment allowing investors to run with either the bulls or bears in a risk controlled manner.

'Our PLUS funds, on the other hand, use a sophisticated investment technique known as 'portable alpha' to provide investors with the opportunity to beat the relevant underlying long-only benchmark with no additional market risk - effectively combining the power and benefits of both indexing and pure active investment management,' adds Dr Schmitz.  The SciVest US Equity Index PLUS Fund, our first PLUS fund launched in October 2002, is an example of the successful implementation of this approach. This fund has consistently outperformed the S&P 500 benchmark with little incremental risk and would rank in the top decile of U.S. equity funds on Globefund.com and Morningstar.ca since its inception.'

Dr Schmitz is keen that when investors think of SciVest, they immediately think innovation. 'To my knowledge, SciVest has the only complex of market neutral equity funds in Canada, the only net short equity fund in Canada and the only portable alpha funds in Canada, available to high-net-worth retail investors,' he says. 'And, that's only at the big picture level, as we believe that every single one of our funds is unique in Canada in some manner.'

SciVest's latest addition to its PLUS funds franchise, the SciVest Oil Sands Index PLUS Fund, is the first and the only open-ended fund in Canada for investors to participate purely in the country's Oil Sands sector. The fund uses an overlay strategy that links SciVest's market neutral equity trading strategy to the unique Oil Sands Sector Index developed by Calgary-based Sustainable Wealth Management for which SciVest is the exclusive licensee in Canada. The Oil Sands Sector Index provides investors with a 'pure play' to the high growth oil sands segment of the energy sector, thereby allowing it to potentially outperform the S&P/TSX Energy Index benchmark.

The SciVest Income Portfolio PLUS Fund uses a similar overlay strategy that links a diversified, tax efficient income portfolio with SciVest's market neutral equity trading strategy.  This fund offers the best of both worlds to investors seeking a competitive yield and enhanced investment returns.

The SciVest Commodity PLUS Fund, which competes with low-fee index funds, overlays SciVest's market neutral equity trading on top of a basket of commodity indices, allowing investors to maintain full exposure to the physical commodity markets, while still having the ability to outperform such commodity indexes.

The SciVest Asia Pacific Long-Short Equity Fund uses a quantitative long-short strategy that is typically available to only institutional investors to invest in high-growth opportunities in Asia, with the aim of achieving incremental alpha with less risk than a long-only portfolio of Asian stocks.

Finally, the SciVest Aggressive Market Neutral Equity Fund uses a greater amount of leverage than the SciVest Market Neutral Equity Fund to enhance returns while maintaining equity market like volatility risk, but with no equity market correlation.  This is an ideal strategy for conservative investors seeking customized principal protected portfolio solutions or for more aggressive investors seeking long-term returns in the high teens with no equity market risk.

'In sum, SciVest's broader strategy offerings now include: various leveraged versions of our older zero beta funds, known as our Market Neutral franchise of funds; net long and net short long-short funds with betas ranging from 0.5 to -0.5, known as our Beta Controlled franchise of funds; and portable alpha funds with a beta of one to some underlying investment portfolio or index, known as our PLUS franchise of funds,' says Schmitz. 'Our goal is to provide investors with innovative, risk-controlled investment solutions to meet the needs of investors who are increasingly vigilant about controlling the market exposure in their portfolios, as well as minimizing risk and maximizing returns.'

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