Friends Ivory & Sime launches its new Isis range which will offer speciality equity products to world markets
Friends Ivory & Sime has launched a specialist fund management arm with three UK equity funds, to be available to the international market via offshore bonds. Although primarily focused on the UK, the company is looking to add multi-currency share classes to specific funds once the range has increased in scope and had time to mature.
The new line is called the Isis range. There will be two Isis Oeics, the first containing UK and European funds, the second, to be launched in January, will have international products: Japanese, North American and global mandates.
The first three funds are a UK Dynamic fund, managed by Rodger McNair and Richard Bell, which will be unrestricted in both sector weighting and capitalisation. The second is the AIM Growth fund, to be managed by Bill Brown. Brown has co-run the AIM trust, which is managed on a very similar basis. Nicholas Malins-Smith will manage the UK Smaller Markets fund.
The next fund, which will probably be launched in November, will be called the Progressive Growth Fund, which will offer long-term capital growth by investing mainly in zero dividend preference shares of listed investment trusts. The fund may also invest in other lower risk investment vehicles.
The company will also be adding a series of specialist funds of funds to the ISIS range, among which will be a fund of investment trusts, which Friends Provident already run. Other possibilities include a fund of hedge funds and a fund of sector funds.
David Norman, retail marketing director, said: 'We see funds of funds as quite an exciting area going forward. There will still be a strong fund of funds within Friends Provident, but within the Isis range we see the opportunity for some more sophisticated products.
'Specialist asset management is our proposition. We give access to the parts of the market you can't get with many providers, so we think it is a strong proposition.'
The company is in negotiations with several offshore life companies through which it will distribute its funds shortly after launch.
Norman said: 'The funds launch on 3 September. Fairly soon after that we hope to make some announcements with more than one life company.'
Norman said: 'Once we have got the two Oeics up and running with the two share classes ' a retail and an institutional share class, we will look at which funds we can potentially have foreign currency-denominated share classes for European distribution. With the Oeic structure we are perfectly prepared to grow and expand the business.'
Although the company will use the distribution capabilities of Friends Provident, it hopes to quickly increase the scope of possible investors.
'In the medium term, we want to use our own distribution. We have a sales team looking at IFAs ' the top end: discretionary fund manager, stockbrokers and third parties, and that obviously is where international offshore companies and fund supermarkets feature quite strongly.'
Friends Ivory & Sime will be available on Fidelity Funds Network and Charcol.
The funds are available for a minimum investment of £1,000 and lump sum top-ups of £500. There is an initial charge of 4.75% and an annual management charge of 1.5%. Commission payable is 3% initial and 0.5% trail.
The company had intended to distribute dollar-denominated versions of its products via the Hong Kong-based Dao Heng Investments. That is on hold as the Dao Heng Bank is undergoing 'restructuring'.
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