In 1996, UK-based fund managers were becoming more optimistic on the outlook for the UK equity marke...
In 1996, UK-based fund managers were becoming more optimistic on the outlook for the UK equity market and were reducing their cash holdings.
The Merrill Lynch/Gallup survey of UK fund managers showed that on a year view, the balance of bulls minus bears was 32% against 20% for the previous month. This resulted in the balance of fund managers looking to reduce exposure to UK equities falling to 3% from 21% in July 1996.
Meanwhile, Foreign & Colonial was shutting down its mainstream UK unit trust sales operation to concentrate on marketing specialist funds. The company did not believe it could compete in the mainstream price war, which saw low-cost and no-load providers entering the market.
Following the departure of Robin Stoakley to the Hong Kong office, Schroders' IFA sales team was being reorganised under Alastair Trainer. Abbey National was also restructuring its IFA division following the departure of its managing director Martin Smith. Smith had been with the company for 24 years. He found himself without a role as Jeremy Budden was appointed managing director of personal finance planning and Duncan Howarth as managing director of the benefit consulting division.
Fidelity was offering a 2% discount on its Luxembourg-based Hong Kong and China fund. It believed Hong Kong was undervalued because of exaggerated fears about the handover but believed it would go to a P/E premium over other Asian countries after 1997.
At the same time, Autif was looking to introduce standardised projected yield calculation on equity funds. The association originally suggested adopting historic yield calculations on the basis that they could not be rigged, but changed its mind to projected calculations.
Kleinwort Benson European Privatisation Trust (Kepit) shareholders were not able to vote on all the restructuring proposals that were being put to the board. The five independent directors on the Kepit board were to consider all offers made to restructure the company before final bids a week later.
Gartmore was also seeking SIB authorisation to launch a UK equity growth unit trust. The fund was to be used to spearhead a major Pep campaign and would cover small to mid growth stocks with some exposure to blue chip companies. The investment house had also finalised the structure of its UK team following its merger with NatWest Investment Management.
Also five years ago, Invesco was bidding to manage the £29m Lazard Smaller Equities Investment Trust, with the backing of four of the trusts largest shareholders.
Andy Crossley, manager of the Invesco English and International trust, was to manage the vehicle, which was on a 28.9% discount.
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