Zephyr Financial Solutions

Zephyr Releases PSN Top Guns List Highlighting Best-In-Class Separate Accounts, Managed Accounts and Managed ETF Strategies

Nine out of ten top plan sponsors count on PSN for accurate SMA data

Q1 2023 PSN Top Guns – Equities Remain Resilient in Light of Bank Failures

Financial markets continued to ebb and flow on the actions and words of the Federal Reserve (Fed) during the quarter. However, the Fed took a backseat when the banking sector came under fire after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Despite mounting concerns regarding the potential for a financial crisis following the collapse of SVB in March, U.S. (S&P 500 index +7.50%) and global equities (MSCI World ex. U.S. index +8.19%) posted positive returns during the quarter. Receding recession worries in developed markets helped support equity prices toward the end of the quarter.

The Fed continued its interest rate hiking cycle but hinted the cycle could be coming to an end soon. The rhetoric resulted in Treasury yields falling and a positive return for investment grade bonds (Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate index +2.96%).

U.S. equities experienced a spike in volatility following the collapse of SVB, as concerns over the health of the banking sector spiked. The collapse caused stock prices of regional banks to plummet. However, stock prices found support from investors who continued to hope the Fed will end its rate hiking cycle and potentially cut rates in 2023 due to cooling inflation and a slowing economy. Growth stocks (Russell 3000 Growth index +13.85%) outperformed value stocks (Russell 3000 Value index +0.91%) during the quarter as falling yields boosted growth names while the banking concerns hindered the value style. Below are some of the strategies that make up the PSN Top Guns Large Cap Growth Universe.

  • Dana Investment Advisors, Inc.: Dana Unconstrained Equity Strategy (+27.5% for the quarter)
  • Merlin Asset Management: Merlin Focused LCG Equity (MO25M) (+23.6% for the quarter)
  • The Ithaka Group, LLC: Ithaka US Large-Cap Growth Strategy (+21.8% for the quarter)

9 of the Top 10 Managed Account Plan Sponsors Count on PSN to Deliver Accurate SMA Data

Are your SMA strategies getting maximum visibility?

The story was similar overseas. Equity volatility rose during the quarter as concerns about the banking sector spread across developed markets as UBS purchased troubled lender Credit Suisse. Despite the banking concerns, international equities (MSCI World ex. US index +8.19) experienced a strong quarter and outpaced U.S. equities during the quarter on the belief the concerns regarding Credit Suisse were largely contained. The European Central Bank continued its rate hiking cycle by raising interest rates by 50 bps in February and March in its battle to tame inflation. The following strategies made the PSN Top Guns list for the International Equity Universe.

  • Artisan Partners Limited Partnership: Artisan Developing World (+22.9% for the quarter)
  • Morgan Stanley Investment Management: International Advantage (+18.1% for the quarter)
  • Comgest Asset Management Intl Ltd.: Pan Europe Equity (+16.5% for the quarter)

The fallout from the SVB collapse overshadowed some concerns that inflation might remain stubborn, resulting in a fall in yields. Sovereign bond yields around the globe fell during the quarter as some central banks started to slow the pace of their rate hikes and concerns about the banking sector grew. The Fed increased its key short-term interest rate by 25 bps twice during the quarter, which was a slowdown from previous rate hikes, and hinted the end of this hiking cycle might be near. As a result, long maturity high quality offerings (Bloomberg U.S. Long Government/Credit index +5.76%) outperformed high yield bonds (ICE BofA US High Yield Master II index +3.72%). The concerns regarding the health of the banking sector hindered the lower quality bonds. Below are some of the strategies that make up the PSN Top Guns Long Maturity Universe.

  • Fidelity Institutional Asset Mgmt.: Long U.S. Treasury STRIPS Index (+9.8% for the quarter)
  • State Street Global Advisors: 20+ Year U.S. Treasury STRIPS Index (+8.9% for the quarter)
  • Jennison Associates LLC: Jenn Long Conservative US Tsy STRIPS (+8.4% for the quarter)

For more details on the methodology behind the PSN Top Guns Rankings, or to purchase PSN Top Guns Reports, contact Margaret Tobiasen at Margaret.tobiasen@informa.com.


PSN Top Guns quarterly commentary is presented by Zephyr's Market Strategist Ryan Nauman whose analysis and research has been shared on financial industry media including WealthManagement.com, Reuters, CNBC, Bloomberg, MarketWatch.com, Yahoo! Finance, and the Wall Street Journal, while being a regular guest on TD Ameritrade Network, Yahoo! Finance, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Radio and Chuck Jaffe’s Money Life podcast.

PSN Top Guns Commentary


Q4 2022 PSN Top Guns – Markets Rally While the Fed Sees Things Differently

While equities rallied during the last quarter of 2022 bond markets signaled some disappointment in the Fed’s hawkish tone during the quarter which caused Treasury yields to rise during the end of the quarter. Concern over the Fed’s hawkish tone combined with growing evidence of slowing economic growth resulted in a slight gain for the Bloomberg U.S. Treasury 7 – 10 Year index (+0.97%).