Norwich Union is offering a new series of its Guaranteed Fund, which is designed to promote capital growth by investing in a range of assets. Each series runs for five years and invests in UK and international equities, bonds, property and cash. The fund also guarantees that the value on its fifth anniversary will be no less than the original payment into the fund. At launch, between 40% and 45% of the fund will be invested in equities and property; however, that figure may fluctuate depending on market conditions. Aimed at cautious investors, the fund is actively managed and is available through Norwich Union's Portfolio investment bond. The minimum investment is £5,000.
Scottish Equitable has launched life versions of its Balanced Passive and Universal Passive (UBC) funds, both of which are now available through Scottish Equitable's Investment Bond. Externally managed by Merrill Lynch, the Balanced Passive fund is benchmarked against the Lipper Balanced Managed life sector average. The fund uses tracker funds to manage exposure to differing regions and asset classes. The UBC fund has 75% of its portfolio invested in the Balanced Passive fund and the remaining 25% will be placed in the External Balanced Collection, which is comprised of funds from Baillie Gifford, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, Newton, DWS Investments and UBS Global Asset Management.
Scottish Provident International (SPILA) has launched a service called Client Centre, which gives policyholders online up-to-date portfolio valuations, policy summaries, premium payment information and their registered adviser contact details. Clients need to register to use the site. The Client Centre can answer routine requests and also aims to keep customers updated with news and information. The website can be found at www.spila.com.
Marlborough Fund Managers has signed an agreement with ARN Investment Partners of Singapore to act as an adviser to a proposed new Oeic - the Marlborough Eastern Enterprise Fund. Christopher Wong and Jeffrey Lum will be co-managers at ARN Investment Partners for the fund, which will launch as soon as it gains FSA approval. Both Wong and Lum have strong track records in Far Eastern investment, with a top quartile return over five years on the Solus Eastern European Fund. The move is part of a wider initiative to broaden its fund offerings.
Winterthur Life UK has appointed three new sales consultants to boost its IFA support services. Les Lamb, Stuart Cantrill and Robin Lunn have all joined the group as business development managers (BDM's), and will support panels of IFAs in different areas of the country. Lamb joins the group from Skandia Life, where as sales development manager he was responsible for a team of four consultants and a panel of accounts that included Pearson Jones, AWD Chase and Marsh. His new role will see him working with IFAs in West Yorkshire. Cantrill joins the group from McDonald Associates, where he was life and pensions consultant and Lunn joins the group after 15 years working in a variety of roles for Norwich Union. Lunn will support a panel of IFAs in Birmingham, while Cantrill will work with IFAs in Hull and South Yorkshire.
Despite struggling immediately after taking over the New Star UK Growth Fund in July 2002, Stephen Whittaker has moved the fund up to the top quartile after three years at the helm. Whittaker took over the ailing fund from New Star CIO Alan Miller and has been successful in reversing its performance. Over the three years, the £294m fund is ranked 47 out of 259 in the UK All Companies sector, having delivered a bid to bid return of 51.4%, compared to the peer group average of 42.7%. Upon taking the helm, Whittaker turned over around 80% of the portfolio, positioning it to benefit from economic recovery. This move subsequently proved too early and fund performance languished over the first year of Whittaker's tenure. However, the manager maintained his conviction and the market eventually shifted.
New Star's fund of funds range now owns almost half of the New Star Global Financials portfolio, after taking a £15m stake. The Financials fund is managed by Guy de Blonay and the additional £15m of investment increases the portfolio to more than £36m as of 29 July 2005. Four of the seven New Star funds of funds, the Tactical Portfolio, Managed Portfolio, Balanced Portfolio and the Active Portfolio, have taken stakes in Global Financials. The fund of funds team, led by Mark Harris, has always been careful to preserve independence and has not invested in any of the group's own funds since becoming part of New Star in 2003. By investing in the Global Financials fund, the team has gone a step further.
Barclays has launched a 'Portfolio Bond' offering a range of funds within a life wrapper. The wrapper includes a series of funds based on Barclays' multi manager proposition, a protected fund and a selection of specialist investment bond funds from L&G, who are one of the group six core providers. The 'Portfolio Bond' will be available through Barclays Financial Planning, the bank's financial advice arm.
Standard Life has been appointed the sole external provider of Sipps by Punter Southall Financial Management (PSFM) in a deal which sees PSigma Investment Management (PSIM), PSFM's sister company, appointed as a discretionary fund manager for the exclusive use of PFSM clients. Standard Life has also added the 'io Inflation Plus Fund' to its own sigma platform and will make the fund available through the Sipp exclusively for PFSM clients.
Technical Central, Scottish Life's pensions e-information centre, has improved its A-Day offering to provide IFAs increased technical and practical support. Drawing on Scottish Life's team of pension specialists, Technical Central now offers a summary of how residential property can be used as an asset of a pension scheme after A-Day as well as a buy-to-let case study, a guide to the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) and a summary of the rule changes around paying into a UK pension whilst overseas. www.scottishlife.co.uk/technicalcentral.
Friends Provident has appointed Ian Jefferies as head of protection marketing. Jefferies has been working at Friends Provident in a variety of roles including IFA sales consultant and regional manager. Prior to this new position, Jefferies had been head of investment marketing and was in charge of managing the group's position in the UK savings andinvestment market.
Investec Asset Management (Investec) has appointed John Tenevan as the group's sales director to London. Tenevan will focus on working with City and West End intermediaries and wealth managers and will promote Investec's range of investment products. He joins Investec from DWS Investment where he worked as head of the discretionary channel and was responsible for developing sales in that area.
Schroders' multi-manager team has added the Investec Global Energy fund, headed by Tim Guinness, to all three of its portfolios. The fund is now held by the Schroder High Alpha, Strategic Balanced and Cautious Managed Distribution Portfolios. Andrew Yeadon, head of Schroders' multi-manager team, said he believes energy prices will stay higher than consensus forecasts.
Fidelity International has launched a website for dedicated asset managers, offering fund information for the wealth management sector. The site has a library of Fidelity's mutual fund and investment trust literature, as well as market reports and analysis. Users of the site, www.fidelity.co.uk/wealthmanager, will have fund information basics like SEDOL, Mex and ISIN codes and can also access the latest market information and fund prices.
Portego Real Estate Investors, the property investment management business, has begun dealings on the Irish Stock Exchange in shares of its first UK commercial property investment fund, the Portego UK Property Fund. The fund is tax structured as an open-ended Irish variable capital company and listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Shares will be placed with investors at £1.00 per share.
Skanska UK, a UK construction services business, has selected Standard Life Investments to manage an £80m UK bond portfolio. Andrew Sutherland, head of credit, will be the lead manager on the Skanska account supported by Jonathan Gibbs and Craig MacDonald.
Scottish Life, the pension specialist arm of the Royal London Group, has appointed Neil Lovatt to the position of head of marketing development. In the newly created role, Lovatt's responsibilities will cover investment marketing and development and e-service support and development. He will also develop relationships with the adviser community through Scottish Life's sales force.
Gartmore has appointed Jayne Stevlington as senior investment manager. Stevlington joins from New York-based Altura Asset Management. In her new role she will take portfolio responsibilities alongside Gil Knight, on the Gartmore US Smaller Companies Fund and the Gartmore SICAV US Smaller Companies Fund.
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