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A Sturdy Fund for Choppy Waters

Alec Lucas, Ph.D.

Alec Lucas: Silver-rated American Funds Global Balanced (GBLAX) is a great option for risk-averse investors or those at or near retirement. 

It's well equipped to navigate choppy markets. The fund's veteran six-person management team includes one equity specialist, two fixed-income experts, and three balanced managers. 

The balanced managers rely on fundamental research rather than tactical asset-allocation calls to invest in either equity or fixed-income securities. Their decisions largely determine where the fund's equity exposure falls along its typical 50% to 70% range. They have proven adept at taking advantage of the market's opportunities. 

Beginning in March 2011, shortly after the fund's inception, it has beaten the world-allocation Morningstar Category norm in 43 of 44 rolling one-year periods through September 2015. And half of that time, it has placed in the category's top quartile. 

These results have come in somewhat varied conditions as concerns about sovereign debt hit equities hard in 2011, while easy-money policies boosted them in 2013. Impressively, the fund has also compiled this record while keeping risk in check.