The Thames River Multi Select fund is a multi-manager vehicle managed by Robert Burdett and Gary Pot...
The Thames River Multi Select fund is a multi-manager vehicle managed by Robert Burdett and Gary Potter, co-heads of Thames River Capital's multi-manager business, who joined in 2007 after making their name at Credit Suisse and before that at Rothschild Asset Management.
The fund offers access to a portfolio of both in-house and external funds. The Thames River/Nevsky Capital funds can make up anything from 25% to 75% of the portfolio and include asset classes such as funds of hedge funds, bonds and property, as well as equity funds, with a particular focus on emerging markets.
The third-party fund weighting can also be from 25% to 75%.
A neutral asset allocation for the fund would be one-third each in equities, fixed income and alternatives (including property). The fund was launched in June with fractional overweights in alternatives and equities, a 25% position in bonds and 5% in cash. Its largest position at launch was the BlackRock UK Absolute Alpha fund.
Potter and Burdett's strengths lie in finding, understanding and forging relationships with the best possible fund management talent globally. They place emphasis on boutique managers and undiscovered talent, often backing managers early in their careers when performance can be at its most potent. Because of their track record, the managers are able to access funds that are closed to new investors and are not on any life or fund platforms.
This fund, a Dublin Ucits, was launched primarily for European distribution. It functions as an unregulated collective investment scheme for UK investors, who must meet certain qualifying criteria in order to invest.
The initial demand came from a Scandinavian distributor who wanted a product that offered a mix of alternatives, global equities and global fixed income. On testing it with other clients we found considerable demand in Europe.
The fund is already registered for sale in Holland and Norway. We are seeking registration in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Belgium. This may widen as we broaden out the sales focus. It is aimed at intermediaries in Europe.
The fund's stated objective is to deliver long-term capital growth through investing in a diversified portfolio of funds in different asset classes from Thames River, Nevsky and other funds from boutique investment houses including, hedge funds, property, bonds, equities, commodities, energy and private equity.
Our product crunchers cast a critical eye over the Thames River Multi Select fund
PETER CHADBORN, PRINCIPAL OF CBK COLCHESTER
A multi-manager fund by definition is well diversified; however, this fund can also boast exposure to hedge funds, property, commodities, energy and private equity. The fund managers have a good track record and experience in the multi-manager market. These facts combined with the stated investment guidelines mean the investment scope is sufficiently broad for most investors seeking this type of fund. 9/10
Arguably, a single fund is inflexible, particularly when compared with a portfolio, because the investor cannot influence the structure. Yet when comparing a boutique fund to a fund from a larger investment house it is fair to say that the boutique fund manager will have greater freedom and is less likely to be constrained by benchmarks. This flexibility is attractive to more experienced and sophisticated investors. 6/10
In my experience, the smaller the organisation, the better the service levels and overall support provided. Boutique fund managers fall into this category. I see no reason why the service levels for this product will be anything other than of a high standard. 7/10
Like service standards, the quality of technical support from Thames River Capital for this product should be high. However, less technical support should be required for a single fund than a portfolio. 7/10
Value for money
An initial charge of 5% and AMC of 1.5% means that the charges are acceptable for this type of fund. When considering the quality of the fund managers and the experience of the team overall, I think on the whole the value for money is good. Four of the five key team members have been working together for 11 years, which should inspire confidence when considering a new fund which therefore has no track record. 8/10
ALAN SMITH, DIRECTOR OF CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT
The fund aims for an 'absolute return' strategy - i.e. to deliver positive returns in all markets. Unsurprisingly this is a popular aim at the current time and Thames River has joined a growing list of funds launched to meet with current client demand. It is part fettered in that it will hold up to 75% of the portfolio in Thames River funds (including Nevsky, the hedge fund proposition) and the balance with other leading boutiques. It will hold up to 1/3 in fixed income, 1/3 in equities and 1/3 in alternatives (including property) and can have allocation to private equity and commodities. 6/10
It is an offshore fund available in several currency denominations and targeted at the international sophisticated investor market. 6/10
Generally very good. 8/10
Support is available to advisers who wish to discuss technical aspects. In addition the fund managers, Gary Potter and Robert Burdett, have been highly visible since joining Thames River at seminars and presentations and are likely to make themselves available to discuss specific issues ort concerns. 8/10
Value for money
With an initial charge, annual management charge and performance fee the total costs do not come cheap - it remains to be seen if performance will justify the overall fees paid by investors. 6/10
- Launch date: 3 June 2008
- Managers: Robert Burdett and Gary Potter
- Share classes: US dollar, euro, sterling, Norwegian krone
- Minimum investment: $1,000, EUR1,000, £1,000, NOK8,000
- Unit type: roll-up
- Initial charge: 5%
- Annual management fee: 1.5%
- Performance fee: 10% (high water mark).
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