The Wilmington Trust Center in Wilmington, Delaware. The Wilmington Trust Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

Wilmington Trust has created a new asset management brand to expand the reach of its proprietary suite of investment products including mutual funds, separately managed accounts, alternative funds and model portfolios.

Wilmington Investment Management, as the new brand is named, uses the same core investment tenets that underlie the investment approach of the 116-year-old firm with $98 billion in assets under management: a macroeconomic-led investment process with a focus on managing drawdown risk, minimizing tax liability, controlling investment costs and delivering superior risk-adjusted returns.

In introducing the new brand, Chief Investment Officer Tony Roth described a current late-cycle environment characterized by multiple concerns among investors — trade issues, an inverted yield curve, falling commodity prices and a likely earnings recession — that has many high-net-worth investors looking for downside protection.

“Clients are looking for opportunities to participate in the upside to some degree but what they really want is to protect the downside,” said Roth. “We don’t know whether the cycle will end imminently or in another year or so. Our view is that we will probably have recession after the election.”

The firm’s first biannual investment survey, released today, found that two-thirds of 500 high-net-worth investors 35 and older (with households with incomes of $225,000 and higher) are concerned about the downturn or recession hurting their retirement, and 61% are willing to forfeit growth for downside protection.

The survey also found that 88% of respondents consider low fees an important factor for investments (among 88% of respondents) and that 40% of investors with alternative investments view those investments as improving diversification and downside protection, with 68% of them expecting to increase allocations to alts in the next 12-18 months.

Most important for advisors, a majority of survey respondents said their satisfaction with an advisor would improve if the advisor offered new investment options such as alternatives. Nearly 75% of respondents with household incomes of at least $500,000 shared that opinion.

On Tuesday, 10 Wilmington Trust mutual funds were made available to retail and institutional clients through most major custodial platforms including Schwab and TD Ameritrade:

Wellington Management is the subadvisor for the Global Alpha Equities, Real Asset and International funds; the rest of the funds are subadvised by other firms selected by Roth and his team. Minimums vary from a couple of thousand dollars for A shares to several hundred thousand dollars for institutional shares.

Also available are multiple asset allocation model portfolios that combine stocks, bonds, real assets, hedging strategies and cash in various proportions based on risk-adjusted strategies ranging from conservative to aggressive.

SMA core strategies will soon be available to RIAs, and more solutions, including private funds, will be will be released gradually over the coming months, according to Roth.

— Check out Nearly 60% of Business Owners Lack a Transition Plan: Wilmington Trust  on ThinkAdvisor.