The offshore market's racy image belies its now-conservative leanings. For years, its association with sun-soaked tax havens and playboy millionaires has blinded people to the very real and very legitimate benefits of investing offshore. It has benefits not only for the super-wealthy and offshore domiciliaries, but also for more mainstream investors, who might benefit from gross roll-up or other tax planning measures.
But take-up is improving. The RealAdviser Inquiry this month shows that 93% of advisers use offshore products for some of their client base. A substantial minority also believe their use of offshore products will increase in 2006. This is a reflection of the increasing sophistication of advisers and the real effort many of the jurisdictions have made to rid themselves of any miscreants.
It is an indication as to how the investment market is democratising. Initiatives like Ucits III have brought more sophisticated products into the retail investment sphere. Multi-managers are certain to now include more offshore funds in their retail portfolios. In fact, a substantial proportion of the new Credit Suisse Innovator fund will be in offshore funds.
Of course, with choice comes more responsibility. Advisers may have access to better funds, but they also have a wider universe to sift. The difficulties faced by advisers are highlighted in our news analysis this month, which looks at the intricacies of the UK All Companies sector. Equally, it can make portfolio construction trickier. Two multi-managers give their hints and tips in our portfolio construction piece on page 18. This is taken from an Interactive Financial Adviser debate and will continue next month.
This also means that increasing numbers of advisers are turning to multi-manager. Our lead story on page six, shows just how much the sector has grown over the past few years with Skandia Investment Management - still only just over three years old - leading the way. It also looks like being a popular choice for this year's Isa season. Interestingly, manager of manager is proving just as popular as fund of funds. The much-predicted consolidation in the market has also failed to materialise. It seems that advisers are starting to see the benefits of the approach in all its guises.
Cherry Reynard, editor
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till