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MarketWatch Article on the Credit Suisse Asset Management Managed Futures Strategy

The trend following Managed Futures systematic investment strategy is featured in this MarketWatch article on how it can be helpful to investors during times of economic uncertainty.

September 21, 2022

Managed futures strategies can be helpful to investors during times of economic uncertainty.

The strategies seek to take advantage of price trends — up or down — and produce positive returns that offset declines elsewhere. Having some money committed to a managed futures strategy can lower a portfolio’s overall risk and potentially keep an investor from making a rash move they may regret later.

Yung-Shin Kung, investment chief of quantitative investment strategies at Credit Suisse Asset Management in New York, described a managed futures strategy that takes advantage of market rotations that give rise to “tradable trends.”

These price trends occur and can be profited from because of “lead and lag effects” in how investors process information and make investment decisions, Kung said in an interview. He added that a managed futures strategy gives the average investor access to the type of dynamic trading decisions that hedge funds use. Many institutional money managers have formal decision-making processes that can slow them down, he said.

The managed futures strategy isn’t meant to be correlated with the performance of the stock market. This year has been one of broad declines for stocks and bonds, as the Federal Reserve has taken steps to clamp down on high inflation. It has also been a good one for Kung’s strategy.

Here’s a chart showing the year-to-date performance of the Credit Suisse Managed Futures Strategy Fund CSAIX, +0.42% and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY, -0.76%:

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Here’s a look at four other managed futures strategies from May, including the Pimco Trends Managed Futures Strategy Fund PQTIX, +0.16%.

Managed futures exposure can help calm investors’ fears

During periods of high volatility in the stock or bond markets, investors can find it difficult to stand firm. Time and again, the cycles of market pullbacks and recoveries have shown that most investors have been best off waiting through the cycles and even continuing to pour money in, rather than trying to time the market by waiting on the sidelines. The tendency is to re-enter after a recovery has started, hurting a portfolio’s long-term performance.

This chart, provided by John Buckingham, editor of The Prudent Speculator (published by Kovitz Investment Group of Chicago), illustrates how equity investors have hurt their long-term returns through efforts at market timing, through 2021:

Time in the market trumps market timing

Individual Investor Returns vs. Broad Benchmarks

  Stocks Bonds Inflation
Tme Period Average
Equity
Investor
Return
S&P 500
Return
Difference Average
Bond
Investor
Return
U.S. Aggregate
Bond
Index
Return
Difference U.S. Consumer
Price
Index
1 Year 18.4% 28.7% -10.3% -1.6% -1.5% -0.1% 7.0%
3 Years 21.6% 26.1% -4.5% 1.7% 4.8% -3.1% 3.5%
5 Years 14.8% 18.5% -3.7% 0.8% 3.6% -2.8% 2.9%
10 Years 13.4% 16.6% -3.2% 0.4% 2.9% -2.5% 2.2%
20 Years 8.1% 9.5% -1.4% 0.4% 4.3% -3.9% 2.3%
30 Years 7.1% 10.7% -3.6% 0.3% 5.3% -5.0% 3.4%

From 12.31.1984 through 12.31.2021. Annualized returns. Source: Kovitz using data from DALBAR and Bloomberg Finance L.P.

Credit Suisse’s managed futures strategy

Kung explained that the Credit Suisse Managed Futures Strategy is focused on “capturing price trends, up or down,” across four broad asset classes: stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. This is done by placing futures trades on “large bellwether instruments” to take advantage of price trends, Kung said, adding: “We do not have structural exposure to any market index.”

The management team looks at “16 distinct moving-average windows” across 18 instruments tied to the four asset classes, Kung said. For example, if nearly all moving averages for energy commodities were to show prices increasing, the fund would make a larger long trade on energy. If there is a conflict between the moving-average indicators, implying price declines for some time periods and price increases for others, the fund will have lower exposure, or even stay out of that asset class entirely.

The most recent price trends are compared with longer trends going back three to 18 months. “If we see the most recent several trading days’ average price is higher than it has been over a more extended window, that will signal to us an up trend,” and vice versa, Kung said. The trades are generally front-month contracts, which are the most liquid. “We seek to preserve a very clean reflection of trend-following,” Kung said.

A managed futures strategy typically holds cash on the sidelines. This means a fund manager might invest that cash outside the futures strategy — in long stock positions, for example. This is not necessarily a bull-market strategy — a managed futures fund can profit during an up or down market, but probably won’t keep pace with equities during the type of asset bubble that helped fuel the last bull market. But during a period of high inflation and price gyrations as investors overreact to monetary policy pronouncements and other events, exposure to a pure managed futures strategy can help smooth out an investor’s ride.

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Certain information contained herein has been obtained from third party sources and such information has not been independently verified by Credit Suisse. No representation, warranty, or undertaking, expressed or implied, is given to the accuracy or completeness of such information by Credit Suisse or any other person. While such sources are believed to be reliable, Credit Suisse does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such information. Credit Suisse does not undertake any obligation to update the information contained herein as of any future date.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the opinions of Credit Suisse or any of its employees. By reprinting this article, Credit Suisse does not endorse or adopt its content. The article was originally published on MarketWatch.

  Performance as of 6/30/2022
Average Annual Total Returns
  Inception Total
Annual
Fund
Operating
Expenses
Net
Expense
Ratio1
1 Month
Return
3 Month
Return
YTD 
Returns
1 Year 3 Year 5 Year 10 Year Since 
Inception 
of Fund
Class I 09/28/12 1.32% 1.30% 0.09% 5.52% 19.71% 16.17% 8.20% 4.92% - 4.73%
Class A (without sales charge) 09/28/12 1.57% 1.5% 0.00% 5.33% 19.48% 15.82% 7.90% 4.65% - 4.47
Class A (with max. sales charge) 09/28/12 1.57% 1.55% (5.28)% (0.17)% 13.23% 9.70% 5.97% 3.52% - 3.90%
Class C (without sales charge) 09/28/12 2.32% 2.30% (0.00)% 5.15% 19.03% 14.95% 7.09% 3.88% - 3.68%
Class C (with max. sales charge) 09/28/12 2.32% 2.30% (1.00)% 4.15% 18.03% 13.95% 7.09% 3.88% - 3.68%

Source: Credit Suisse Asset Management, LLC and Bloomberg.

The performance data quoted represents past performance. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The current performance of the fund may be lower or higher than the figures shown. The fund’s yield, returns and share price will fluctuate, and redemption value may be more or less than original cost. Performance information current to the most recent month-end is available at https://www.credit-suisse.com/us/funds

  1. Based on a risk model calibrated with market data for the one year period ending with the date of this report. The asset weights as of this report’s date are applied to the risk model to generate risk weighed contributions by asset class. 
  2. The portfolio exposures presented are intended to illustrate the asset class exposure present in the fund. The portfolio exposure percentage represents the net notional contract value divided by the Fund’s total assets. Given the nature of the Fund’s investments, the sum of the percentages may not equal 100% and the net notional contract values may not equal the net assets of the fund. 
  3. Eligibility requirements apply. Please see the Prospectus for additional information. 
  4. Credit Suisse Opportunity Funds (the “Trust”) and Credit Suisse Asset Management, LLC (“Credit Suisse”) have entered into a written contract limiting operating expenses to 1.55% of the fund’s average daily net assets for Class A shares, 2.30% of the fund’s average daily net assets for Class C shares and 1.30% of the fund’s average daily net assets for Class I shares at least through February 28, 2023. This limit excludes certain expenses, including interest charges on fund borrowings, taxes, brokerage commissions, dealer spreads and other transaction charges, expenditures that are capitalized in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, acquired fund fees and expenses, short sale dividends, and extraordinary expenses (e.g., litigation and indemnification and any other costs and expenses that may be approved by the Board of Trustees). The Trust is authorized to reimburse Credit Suisse for management fees previously limited and/or for expenses previously paid by Credit Suisse, provided, however, that any reimbursements must be paid at a date not more than thirty-six months following the applicable month during which such fees were limited or expenses were reimbursed by Credit Suisse and the reimbursements do not cause the Fund to exceed the applicable expense limitation in the contract at the time the fees are recouped. This contract may not be terminated before February 28, 2023. 

The current performance of the fund may be lower or higher than the figures shown. The fund’s yield, returns and share price will fluctuate, and redemption value may be more or less than original cost. Performance information current to the most recent month-end is available at https://www.credit-suisse.com/us/funds. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future.

Risk Considerations

All investments involve some level of risk. Simply defined, risk is the possibility that you will lose money or not make money. Before you invest, please make sure you understand the risks that apply to the fund. As with any mutual fund, you could lose money over any period of time. Investments in the fund are not bank deposits and are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Principal risk factors for the fund include:

Commodity Exposure Risks: Exposure to the commodities markets may subject the fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. Credit Risk: The issuer of a debt instrument, the borrower of a loan or the counterparty to a contract, including derivatives contracts, may default or otherwise become unable to honor a financial obligation. Currency Risk: Currency risk is the risk that changes in currency exchange rates will negatively affect securities or instruments denominated in, and/or payments received in, foreign currencies. Derivatives Risk: In addition to the risks described below under “Speculative Exposure Risk,” there are additional risks associated with investing in derivatives. Equity Exposure Risk: Equity security prices have historically risen and fallen in periodic cycles. U.S. and foreign equity markets have experienced periods of substantial price volatility in the past and may do so again in the future. Exchange-Traded Notes Risk: ETNs are a type of unsecured, unsubordinated debt security that have characteristics and risks similar to those of fixed income securities and trade on a major exchange similar to shares of exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”). Fixed Income Risk: The market value of fixed income investments, and financial instruments related to those fixed income investments, will change in response to interest rate changes and other factors, such as changes in the effective maturities and credit ratings of fixed income investments. Foreign Securities Risk: A fund that has exposure to investments outside the U.S. carries additional risks that include Currency Risk, Information Risk and Political Risk. Forwards Risk: Forwards are not exchange-traded and therefore no clearinghouse or exchange stands ready to meet the obligations of the contracts. Futures Contracts Risk: The price volatility of futures contracts historically has been greater than that for traditional securities such as stocks and bonds. Interest Rate Risk: Changes in interest rates may cause a decline in the market value of an investment. Leveraging Risk: Although the fund itself will not be leveraged, certain financial instruments may give rise to a form of leverage. Market Risk: The market value of an instrument may fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. Non-Diversified Status: The fund is considered a non-diversified investment company under the 1940 Act and is permitted to invest a greater proportion of its assets in the securities of a smaller number of issuers. Options Risk: A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well conceived and well-executed options program may be adversely affected by market behavior or unexpected events. Portfolio Turnover Risk: The fund expects to engage in frequent trading of derivatives. Repurchase Agreements Risk: Repurchase agreements could involve certain risks in the event of default or insolvency of the seller, including losses and possible delays or restrictions upon the fund’s ability to dispose of the underlying securities. Short Position Risk: The fund or the Subsidiary may enter into a short position through a futures contract or swap agreement. Speculative Exposure Risk: Gains or losses from speculative positions in a derivative may be much greater than the derivative’s original cost. Structured Note Risk: The fund may seek investment exposure to asset classes through structured notes that may be exchange-traded or trade in the over-the-counter market. Subsidiary Risk: By investing in the Subsidiary, the fund is indirectly exposed to the risks associated with the Subsidiary’s investments. Swap Agreements Risk: Swap agreements involve the risk that the party with whom the fund has entered into the swap will default on its obligation to pay the fund and the risk that the fund will not be able to meet its obligations to pay the other party to the agreement. Tax Risk: In order to qualify as a RIC under the Code, the fund must meet certain requirements regarding the source of its income, the diversification of its assets and the distribution of its income. U.S. Government Securities Risk: Obligations of U.S. government agencies and authorities are supported by varying degrees of credit but generally are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. 

Definitions
Credit Suisse Managed Futures Liquid Index:
The Credit Suisse Managed Futures Liquid Index seeks to gain broad exposure to the Managed Futures strategy using a pre-defined quantitative methodology to invest in a range of asset classes including: equities, fixed income, commodities and currencies.
S&P 500 Index: The S&P 500 is a stock market index that tracks the stocks of 500 large-cap U.S. companies. T

Important Legal Information
From time to time, the fund’s investment adviser and co-administrators may waive some fees and/or reimburse some expenses at any time, without which performance would be lower. Waivers and/or reimbursements are subject to change. Returns represent past performance and include change in share price and reinvestment of dividends and capital gains. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The current performance of the fund may be lower or higher than the figures shown. The fund’s yield, returns and share price will fluctuate, and redemption value may be more or less than original cost. Performance information current to the most recent month-end is available at https://www.credit-suisse.com/us/funds.

Fund shares are not deposits or other obligations of Credit Suisse Asset Management, LLC or any affiliate, are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and are not guaranteed by Credit Suisse Asset Management, LLC or any affiliate. Fund investments are subject to investment risks, including loss of your investment.

The fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses (which should be considered carefully before investing), and more complete information about the fund, are provided in the Prospectus, which should be read carefully before investing. You may obtain copies by calling 800-577-2321. For up-to-date performance, please visit our website at https://www.credit-suisse.com/us/funds.

CREDIT SUISSE SECURITIES (USA), LLC, DISTRIBUTOR. Copyright © 2022 CREDIT SUISSE. All rights reserved.