Considering the flexibility offered by the fund, Gilbey feels it is
relatively limited, even in the context of its place within an umbrella
fund. He says: "The alternative funds are limited to
Ashburtons offering and theirs is not such a diversified range
as some investment groups. Those advisers who are now used to
the flexibility and choice offered by fund supermarkets will be
Divers says: "You can switch between funds at minimal
cost, but initial buying of £25,000 puts the product in the high net
worth bracket. Bloom calls it reasonable, while Hill says:
"It will interest a lot of my clients."
When asked about Ashburtons reputation, Bloom says:
"Fairly strong amongst international advisers, less well
known onshore." Hill calls it sound, and says that he has
heard of it before and seen results.
Gilbey says: "Ashburton is a specialist fund manager and
has an excellent reputation amongst the trade, but because of their
specialist and offshore status they have struggled in the past to
attract distribution via UK based IFAs."
Divers calls them a stylish top quality house, and mentions that they
have a presence in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. He adds
that they have a solid core of particular supporters, but suggests that
most IFAs will never have heard of them.
Moving on to the past performance record of the company, Hill says:
"Steady, that is what would interest my clients."
Gilbey says that they are above average for their low risk funds.
Bloom feels that the company has done well on fixed-interest
products, and reasonably well on asset allocation. Divers says:
"There are a couple of global funds that look impressive,
but the rest is pretty mediocre."
Looking at the products providing the main competition, Bloom
identifies the JPMorgan Fleming US dollar global bond, while Hill
picks distribution bonds.
Divers adds to the mix products from Quilter, HSBC and Mellon, while
Gilbey says: "There are a myriad of cash and fixed-interest
funds offshore, but perhaps the greatest competition will come from
products distributed by the major banks rather than investment
Considering whether the charges are fair and reasonable, Bloom
says: "Up to a point, however with long bond yields at 5 per
cent, a 1.25 per cent annual management charge makes a big hole
in the yield. In fact, over 20 per cent of the yield goes on charges. The
charge is in line with the market, but is the market
Hill feels that the charges are fair and reasonable, but says that
everyone wants to reduce them. Divers says: "What is fair
and reasonable? Only a good return on your investment justifies that
– we would all pay for better performance."
Gilbey says that the fund is towards the lower end of offshore product
charges. He mentions that offshore products often appear to cost
more than similar onshore products as they cannot offset charges
The panel agree that the commission offered by the fund is fair.
Gilbey remarks that the product should be a specialist sale, and in
comparison to cash or gilts is very good commission.
On the subject of the product literature, Bloom calls it good, while Hill
says: "Excellent, easy to follow." Divers calls it
very classical and stylish with high quality print, paper and layout.
Gilbey says: "Straightforward and easy to read and
relatively attractive. It benefits from a simple, honest and
straightforward product structure."
Summing up, Bloom says: "Certainly there is a need for a
fund of this type. We like it. But 1.25 per cent charges on an income
fund are just 0.3 per cent too much."
Divers adds: "Most IFAs would be better using a wrapper
like Royal Skandia, and cherry pick the best funds – in fact so would
anybody – especially as you have a choice of