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Ashburton’s Childs says UK onshore option is key to growth

Jersey-based asset manager Ashburton’s Philip Childs says an onshore fund offering is key for the firm to make its mark on the UK retail market.

Childs joined Ashburton as regional sales manager in 2006 responsible for driving business development strategy in the UK.

He says the penetration of Ashburton’s offshore funds into the UK market is hampered by the fact they are denied membership with the Investment Management Association and they are not freely available on fund platforms.

He says: “The IMA is under pressure to include offshore funds in their listings but the only funds they are allowing are a limited range of offshore funds for people who have got a UK range of authorised funds as well. So we’ll never get membership unless we have a UK base.”

Childs says the biggest problem for the firm, which currently holds £1bn under management, is that of invisibility due to the fact the funds are held and managed in Jersey.

He says: “We’re not visible, people don’t know we’re there and the reason they don’t know we’re there is because we’re offshore. The best way of improving your visibility is by having a UK base.

“We can very happily carry on having FSA ‘recognised’ funds but the argument is why do people in the UK need to look further than the array of UK funds? You’ve got to be doing something quite dramatic in order to penetrate the UK market with offshore funds.

Childs says the first stage would be to get a range of onshore FSA authorised funds and then gradually look to build a UK based fund management operation at a later stage.

He says: “I would like to see a clear distinction between offshore and onshore funds. We’ll achieve a certain amount by carrying on the way we are but we would achieve a lot more if we were onshore. There are no timescale or plans for this but they are discussions which are taking place. It’s something I believe Ashburton should and probably will do, it’s just a question of when.”

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