Global Balanced Income Strategy

Global Balanced Income Strategy

Global Balanced Income Strategy


The Morgan Stanley Global Balanced Income (GBI) Strategy follows a top-down global asset allocation approach, investing in equities, fixed income, commodity-linked investments and cash, within a clearly-defined, risk-controlled framework. It aims to provide capital growth over time, while actively managing total portfolio risk, which we define in terms of volatility or value-at-risk (VaR).

The feature that distinguishes this Strategy from others managed by the Portfolio Solutions Group is that it targets an attractive, stable income of 4%* per annum. In pursuit of this goal, the team sells put options on major equity indexes to help enhance the Strategy’s income generation.

Investment Approach

The Income Generation Process Should Be Independent of the Asset Allocation Process
Portfolio managers should not be driven into asset classes they find unattractive, simply to meet an income objective.

Risk Exposures Must Be Intentional
Investing in a diversified2 set of global asset classes, taking only systematic risks that we expect to be rewarded, is the best way to deliver the optimal return for the risk taken.

Anticipating Volatility Is Crucial
Only by anticipating volatility can we manage a portfolio’s broad asset mix to meet our volatility target.

Tactical Asset Allocation Can Add Value
Allocation within asset classes - e.g. between regions or high-quality and lower-quality securities - can add value.

Flexibility Improves Outcomes
A flexible approach – in terms of asset weights and implementation – is the optimal way to meet our objectives.

Innovative Approach to Income
  • The Strategy aims to provide an attractive, consistent stream of income. Asset allocation and income generation processes are separate. As a result, we are not forced to skew our portfolios towards asset classes that generate attractive income.
Process Built for Income Generation
  • We have identified what we believe to be the optimal strategy for income generation, through selling put options3 whilst maintaining the portfolio’s desired risk/return characteristics, and have embedded this into the process.
Volatility-Targeting Process to Provide a Stable Risk Profile
  • Flexible asset allocation process enables dynamic positioning adjustment, to maintain a stable risk profile.
An Academically Rigorous Approach, Applied in a Real World Setting
  • Grounded in portfolio theory with enhanced application of efficient frontier analysis.
  • Combines a fundamental flexible investment approach with the advantages of quantitative implementation tools.
Dynamic Positioning To Capture Current Opportunities
  • Flexibility to move nimbly between assets, to potentially benefit from compelling tactical opportunities for additional alpha. 
  • Rebalancing as market conditions warrant, at which time the broad asset mix consistent with the portfolio’s target volatility or dynamic “proxy” portfolio is redefined.

Risk-targeted Investment Process

The Portfolio Solutions Group employs a differentiated volatility-targeting investment approach that seeks to harness the power of risk.

As market conditions warrant, the team dynamically adjusts the portfolio's mix of equities, fixed income, commodity-linked assets and cash, to align with the agreed risk target on an ongoing basis. We typically adjust the broad asset mix 1-2 times each month, based on anticipated event risks. However, in extreme markets we may need to adjust positions more frequently, to maintain a stable risk profile.

Within the four broad asset classes, we determine preferences across regions and sub-asset classes and make tactical adjustments to the portfolio. Tactical positions are determined through the analysis of three factors: Fundamental Dynamics, Valuations and Sentiment.

In addition to yields from traditional asset classes, the GBI Strategy sells put options with the goal of enhancing income. Together, these two income sources are expected to produce 5%1 in annual income. By including the sale of put options in the process, investors can benefit from a differentiated source of income that is not dependent on the prevailing yield environment.

The Portfolio Solutions Group's risk-targeted asset allocation process is consistently applied to all GBaR portfolios, but tailored to client-specific guidelines and objectives. All GBaR portfolios are managed according to the following 3-stage investment process, whilst stage 4 enables us to help enhance income for portfolios that target this.

Portfolio Managers  
Rui De Figueiredo
Head and CIO of the Solutions & Multi-Asset Group
26 years industry experience
Ryan Meredith
Head of Portfolio Solutions Group
25 years industry experience
Jim Caron
Chief Investment Officer
32 years industry experience
Damon Wu
Portfolio Manager
17 years industry experience

Team members may be subject to change at any time without notice.

Effective 1 November 2023, Andrew Harmstone became an advisor to the Strategy. 

Effective 1 November 2023, Rui De Figueiredo, Ryan Meredith, Jim Caron and Damon Wu are the Strategy’s Lead Portfolio Managers, forming the Investment Committee.


Targets provided are indicative and are not guaranteed in any way. The team manages portfolios to a variety of risk targets, in the range of 2% - 15%, but typically 4% to 10%. This is the level of income targeted in portfolios with a 4%-10% volatility target. 4% is the 2019 target income estimate for euro portfolios, 6.0% for US dollar hedged portfolios and 5.5% for AUD hedged portfolios. This level of income may vary for other portfolios with other volatility targets and can be tailored to clients' risk appetites and income goals. The income target is reviewed at least annually, is indicative only and is not guaranteed. When income is paid from the capital, the result will be a reduction of the capital that the portfolio has available for investment. There can be no assurance that the portfolio will achieve its objectives.

Diversification does not protect an investor against a loss in a particular market; however it allows an investor to spread that risk across various asset classes.


There is no assurance that the Strategy will achieve its investment objective. Portfolios are subject to market risk, which is the possibility that the market values of securities owned by the portfolio will decline and that the value of portfolio shares may therefore be less than what you paid for them. Market values can change daily due to economic and other events (e.g. natural disasters, health crises, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) that affect markets, countries, companies or governments. It is difficult to predict the timing, duration, and potential adverse effects (e.g. portfolio liquidity) of events. Accordingly, you can lose money investing in this portfolio. Please be aware that this strategy may be subject to certain additional risks. There is the risk that the Adviser's asset allocation methodology and assumptions regarding the Underlying Portfolios may be incorrect in light of actual market conditions and the Portfolio may not achieve its investment objective. Share prices also tend to be volatile and there is a significant possibility of loss. The portfolio's investments in commodity-linked notes involve substantial risks, including risk of loss of a significant portion of their principal value. In addition to commodity risk, they may be subject to additional special risks, such as risk of loss of interest and principal, lack of secondary market and risk of greater volatility, that do not affect traditional equity and debt securities. Currency fluctuations could erase investment gains or add to investment losses. Fixed-income securities are subject to the ability of an issuer to make timely principal and interest payments (credit risk), changes in interest rates (interest-rate risk), the creditworthiness of the issuer and general market liquidity (market risk). In a rising interest-rate environment, bond prices may fall. Equity and foreign securities are generally more volatile than fixed income securities and are subject to currency, political, economic and market risks. Equity values fluctuate in response to activities specific to a company. Stocks of small-capitalization companies carry special risks, such as limited product lines, markets and financial resources, and greater market volatility than securities of larger, more established companies. The risks of investing in emerging market countries are greater than risks associated with investments in foreign developed markets. Exchange traded funds (ETFs) shares have many of the same risks as direct investments in common stocks or bonds and their market value will fluctuate as the value of the underlying index does. By investing in exchange traded funds ETFs and other Investment Funds, the portfolio absorbs both its own expenses and those of the ETFs and Investment Funds it invests in. Supply and demand for ETFs and Investment Funds may not be correlated to that of the underlying securities. Derivative instruments can be illiquid, may disproportionately increase losses and may have a potentially large negative impact on the portfolio's performance. A currency forward is a hedging tool that does not involve any upfront payment. The use of leverage may increase volatility in the Portfolio. Diversification does not protect you against a loss in a particular market; however, it allows you to spread that risk across various asset classes. Option writing strategy. Writing put options involves the risk that the Portfolio may be required to buy the underlying security or instrument (or settle in cash an amount of equal value) at a disadvantageous price or above the market price of such underlying security or instrument, at the time the option is exercised. As the writer of a put option, the Portfolio forgoes, during the option's life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the underlying security or instrument covering the option above the sum of the premium and the exercise price, but retains the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security or instrument decline. Additionally, the Portfolio's put option writing strategy may not fully protect it against declines in the value of the market. There are special risks associated with selling put options which expose the Portfolio to potentially significant loss.

Risk Characteristics Associated with Selling Put Options: The team seeks to structure put option holdings of the portfolio in a manner that actual exposure to rising and falling equity markets is equal to a target level consistent with the desired portfolio's risk profile. Nonetheless, in times of rising volatility the Strategy's actual equity exposure may differ meaningfully from targeted levels due to the associated tail risk of these instruments. In a rapidly rising equity market, sold put options could lead to lower equity exposure than intended, so could negatively impact potential gains. In a rapidly falling equity market, sold puts could lead to higher equity exposure than intended, so could increase the level of potential losses. In both scenarios, the Fund would continue to collect premium from selling the put options.

The team uses position limits to help control the risks associated with sold put options. The team also aims to manage volatility risk from sold puts by diversifying their underlying equity regional exposures, generally selling shorter-term put options with a time to maturity of less than two months and managing the timing of put option trades. By benefiting from these measures the team believes that underperformance in volatile markets will generally be offset by potential outperformance in calmer markets.

The description of the option strategy should not be considered a solicitation for options, but rather a description of the Strategy's investment process. See Risk Considerations for the risks of investing in options.

This communication is only intended for and will be only distributed to persons resident in jurisdictions where such distribution or availability would not be contrary to local laws or regulations.

There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions, and each investor should evaluate their ability to invest for the long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

A separately managed account may not be appropriate for all investors. Separate accounts managed according to the Strategy include a number of securities and will not necessarily track the performance of any index. Please consider the investment objectives, risks and fees of the Strategy carefully before investing. A minimum asset level is required. For important information about the investment manager, please refer to Form ADV Part 2.

Any views and opinions provided are those of the portfolio management team and are subject to change at any time due to market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Furthermore, the views will not be updated or otherwise revised to reflect information that subsequently becomes available or circumstances existing, or changes occurring. The views expressed do not reflect the opinions of all portfolio managers at Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) or the views of the firm as a whole, and may not be reflected in all the strategies and products that the Firm offers.

All information provided has been prepared solely for information purposes and does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security or to adopt any specific investment strategy. The information herein has not been based on a consideration of any individual investor circumstances and is not investment advice, nor should it be construed in any way as tax, accounting, legal or regulatory advice. To that end, investors should seek independent legal and financial advice, including advice as to tax consequences, before making any investment decision.


An Option is a financial derivative that represents a contract sold by one party to another party. The contract offers the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a security or other financial asset at an agreed-upon price during a certain period of time or on a specific date.

The Premium is the total cost of an option.

A Put Option is an option contract giving the owner the right, but not the obligation, to sell a specified amount of an underlying security at a specified price within a specified time.

Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index.

Value at Risk (VaR) is a measure of the risk of investments. It estimates how much a set of investments might lose, given normal market conditions, in a set time period such as a day. VaR is typically used by firms and regulators in the financial industry to gauge the amount of assets needed to cover possible losses.


The indexes are unmanaged and do not include any expenses, fees or sales charges. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Any index referred to herein is the intellectual property (including registered trademarks) of the applicable licensor. Any product based on an index is in no way sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by the applicable licensor and it shall not have any liability with respect thereto.

The information presented represents how the portfolio management team generally implements its investment process under normal market conditions.

Morgan Stanley Investment Management is the asset management division of Morgan Stanley.


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