By Kira Nickerson Merrill Lynch Investment Managers is conducting an internal review of its funds i...
By Kira Nickerson
Merrill Lynch Investment Managers is conducting an internal review of its funds in order to better structure the range towards the retail market.
The group this week has started a marketing campaign directed at IFAs following the name change of its fund range from Mercury Asset Management. Merrills is looking to increase its share of the Isa market and build up its intermediary distribution channel.
Gary Withers, managing director of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, said while the group has been a big player in the institutional market, it has underplayed its strengths on the retail side.
He said: "We are looking to increase our profile in this area but it is likely to be two to three years before this is really felt.
"We will look to build out our range further. Some of the funds have not been doing well over the past couple of years and so we are undertaking a big review to look at the funds' performance.
"Potentially we could rationalise some of the range but there may be some new investment definitions on the funds as well."
Withers said the group would be looking at the client profile for each fund and try to determine what the client base wants to get out of it, which may lead to changes in the way they are currently run.
For example, some may take more aggressive investment stances, rather than the more risk averse approach they have run with the institutional investor in mind. While the process is to be ongoing, there may be some changes to the group's existing range made before the new year.
Separate to the review, Merrills is also looking at the possibility of Oeicing its range of unit trusts, although Withers said this is unlikely to occur for another year.
As previously reported in Investment Week, Merrills is to launch a UK fund later this year.
The fund is to operate as an onshore version of its £248m frAA rated Mercury Offshore Sterling Trust United Kingdom (Most UK) fund, which is domiciled in Luxembourg. The group plans to highlight details of the fund at its planned schedule of IFA roadshows, which is to start in October. Most UK is in the first quartile in the UK offshore sector over three months, one year and three years, according to figures from Standard & Poor's Micropal.
For Isa products, while the group has been a large player over the past year and is probably one of the top 10 providers, Withers said it has been below where the group thinks it should be.
He said: "We would like to double our share of Isa sales to get to a level we would be comfortable with. We have been underperforming our potential. We have the depth of talent, a huge investment team and a good range of products to get into that market."
It is likely to focus on its new UK fund for the next Isa season along with its Global Titan fund.
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