Co-operative Financial Services has launched an intermediary arm and signed a distribution agreement with Cofunds as the first part of its drive into the IFA market.
Co-operative Investments is looking to sign up to other major platforms in the coming months to broaden broker access to its funds.
From this week, Co-op’s sustainable leaders, UK income with growth and UK growth trusts will be available through Cofunds.
The funds had previously been distributed through Co-op’s direct salesforce but it believes there is growing IFA demand for ethical investment funds.
The group’s sustainable leaders trust, managed by Mike Fox, made the headlines earlier this year when it became the first socially responsible investment fund to top the Investment Management Association’s UK all companies sector. This was for the 12 months to the end of January 2007.
Co-op director of life & savings Mark Summerfield says: “Embedding socially responsible investment into a mainstream investment process and making it work is notoriously difficult. We have been doing this for a long time and have achieved it successfully.
“Extending our offering to the wider market is an important strategic move which is in response to growing demand for our unit trusts and SRI offerings. Our research shows that intermediaries are likely to respond positively to our brand and products. We will be very receptive to feedback from them about our offering.”
Cofunds director of fund manager relationships Russell Lancaster says: “We are delighted that Co-operative Investments have selected us as their launch partner. Listing with Cofunds is now a key part of any asset manager’s effort to reach the wider intermediary market. We have really begun to see an increase in the sale of ethical funds, so the timing of Co-operative Investments’ retail launch could not be better.”