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2020 Vision

Axa Sun Life&#39s MultiManager is a fund of funds offering four investment choices – global opportunities, growth, income and a 2020 lifestyle fund for long-term investments.

Looking at the useful features and strong points of the product, Scott says: “For clients with the objective of capital growth, there are a couple of risk profiles and there is also the option of an income fund. The retirement planning fund with the changing asset allocation over 20 years is unique but a good IFA could do the same thing for clients.”

Moving on to the suitability of the product to the market, Wilkinson says: “This fund is designed to reduce investment choice down to long-term growth, speculative growth, targeted growth and income. The approach is an extension of what is already available and is likely to attract money from banks and building society accounts.”

Commenting on the investment strategy, Smith says: “Axa has the resources to develop a strong investment strategy suitable for each of the four funds. The 2020 fund is the only one to stand out as taking a new approach, previously only seen with pension products. It will be interesting to see whether this catches on with investment products – I suspect not, as it is too long-term for most investors.”

Scott says: “Although the concept of only investing in the best of the best is sound, there is no mention of how actively or aggressively the fund will be managed.”

Scott and Smith find few opportunities, while Wilkinson again identifies bank and building society account holders.

Taking up this theme, Wilkinson says: “It will appeal to those who wish to make simple decisions and be able to see the results in the long term. Encouraging investing on behalf of children is good marketing but starting a monthly payment of £50 is a bit too restrictive for this market.”

Moving on to the disadvantages of MultiManager, Meadows says: “It doesn&#39t tell us how many Axa Sun Life funds will be included – a company normally includes some of its own in a fund of funds.”

Wilkinson says the company has been an average performer with its global funds.

Most of the panel feel the commission is reasonable but Meadows complains that the details are not contained in the key features document.

The panel are split over whether the charges are fair. Smith and Scott say they are average but Meadows believes they are a bit steep.

Wilkinson says: “The literature is well produced with clear explanations. I like the CD and the sample letters are useful for marketing. There were certain parts of the CD that would not open but that could have been my system.”

It is staggering that the last national census survey revealed that the average contribution to a personal pension is a pitiful 3.25 per cent. When you add to this the inadequacy of state benefits, there is a huge opportunity to drive up increment business, particularly when you tie in consumer research showing that most people aim to retire early.

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