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Ashburton fixes dollar income

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

Ashburton’s 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

disappointed."



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 Ashburton’s 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

houses."

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

right."

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

against taxation.

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

currencies."

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