Standard Life Investments (SLI) has launched two property portfolios with assets transferred out of its parent company's life fund. While the focus is currently on institutional investors, David Paine, SLI property investment director, said it is likely intermediaries will be offered the products in the future on condition that their clients meet the appropriate investment criteria. At the moment, the products - the Standard Life Investments UK Retail Park trust and the Standard Life Investments UK Shopping centre trust - are open to what is defined in Jersey law as 'expert' investors.
Winterthur Life UK has appointed three business development managers as part of its ongoing effort to broaden its adviser services. Scott McKenzie joins from Norwich Union and will be responsible for supporting advisers in Edinburgh. Neal Owens has been appointed from Scottish Life, and will be responsible for a panel of advisers in the West Midlands. Steve Neal joins from the Croydon branch of Scottish Equitable. Neal will be responsible for advisers across the South coast.
GHC has introduced six tailored portfolios for high net worth investors. In GHC's Tailored Portfolio Service each client has an individual segregated portfolio of collectives, and will have direct contact with a fund manager. Six different investment themes are available - the Managed Growth Portfolio, the Managed Income Portfolio and the Dynamic Return Portfolio aim to add value relative to the relevant IMA sector; the other three themed portfolios - the GHC Apcims Balanced Portfolio, the GHC Apcims Income Portfolio and the GHC Apcims Growth Portfolio - have been constructed using the Apcims model portfolio indices as performance comparators.
Friends Provident is launching a guide to pensions simplification. 'Helping you understand Pension Simplification' gives advisers an outline of the Finance Act 2005 and provides guidance on how to comply with the new rules. This covers: lifetime allowance, tax-free cash, contributions after A-day, death benefits, divorce, trivial pensions, investments, pensions ages and pension options. For copies of the guide email full contact details to [email protected]
Nationwide has launched a guaranteed equity bond (GEB) with growth linked to the FTSE 100. Nationwide guarantees to return all the original capital invested in the bond, plus 80% of any FTSE 100 index growth at the end of the five-year term. The Nationwide GEB is linked to a UK Life Bond. The group is also offering an early investor bonus of 0.4% for investment made between 16-28 May, dropping to 0.3% and 0.2% for later investors.
Britannic has launched a high alpha Global Focus Pension fund. The fund will be unconstrained by benchmarks, aiming to select the best ideas in each sector or country and avoid holding a 'tail' of stocks. The fund will mirror the Britannic Global Growth unit trust, which uses the MASAM strategy model - a top-down country and sector modelling tool - developed by James Smith, who will manage the fund. He is also chief investment officer at the group.
Legal & General has appointed Paul Barker and Teresa Russell as investment sales managers reporting to Ben Waterhouse, head of sales. Barker's role will focus on supporting mutual fund business through the discretionary and investment adviser channels in the South West and Channel Islands. Russell will perform a similar role for London and the South East.
Winterthur Life has launched a discounted gift trust for use with its investment bond. The trust has been launched in response to increasing inheritance tax liabilities in the high net worth marketplace. A lump sum invested in the Winterthur Life Investment Bond, arranged on up to four lives assured, can now be placed under a discounted gift trust (DGT) arrangement.
Bambos Hambi, head of Gartmore's MultiManager Fund range believes the Chinese authorities have been paving the way for a shift in policy on the currency and he has been positioning his funds accordingly. He comments, "Letting China's currency gain in strength will be supportive of un-pegged Pan-Asian currencies as well as the region's equities - hence our overweight in Asian equities. Our current stance sees an overweight towards Japan where we think that restructuring will be an enduring theme."
Insight Investment has announced the appointment of Toby Hayes to its multi-manager team as director within the fund and manager selection team. Hayes joins Insight from Banco Comercial Portuges (BCP), where he was head of fixed income. In his new role Hayes will be involved in the investment decision-making process as well as helping the team assess traditional and alternative investment strategies for products such as the Insight Diversified Target Return Fund. He will report to Patrick Armstrong, head of fund and manager selection.
Standard & Poor's has downgraded the £75m Newton Japan fund from A to not rated over concerns that manager Miki Sugimoto is under-resourced and has changed her management style. Sugimoto took over the fund in August 2002 but despite outperformance in 2003, her numbers have started to slip, returning -11.7% bid to bid in the 12 months to 2 May, ranking 50 out of 59 in the Japan sector.
F&C Asset Management has recruited Adrian Hickey as director of Japanese equities. Hickey joins the group from Shell Pension Management Services. Hickey has 14 years' experience covering Japanese equities. In his new role, Hickey will be part of a London-based team of four fund manager focused on Japanese equities. He will report to Mike Hanbury-Williams, head of Pacific Basin equities.
Winterthur Life UK has expanded its Professional Edge IFA support service by appointing Dawn Curyer as business consultant. Curyer joins the group from Pinnacle Insurance where she was working in intermediary sales. The group has also appointed a new sales consultant. Don Manning joins from Standard Life, where he was an account manager covering Bristol and Bath.
The latest Morningstar Isa league table shows M&G in the top 10 for the first time with an average Isa rating of 3.73 out of a possible five stars. Cazenove was another big improver with an average rating of 3.17 bringing it to 27th in the table, up from 55th. The top three remained the same with Barclays Global Investors coming first with 4.29 stars, GAM second with four stars and St. James's Place third with 3.91 stars.
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till