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Cofunds considers charging investors

Fund supermarket Cofunds is understood to be investigating the possibility of charging clients a fee for every Isa, Pep or fund falling below a fixed-size ceiling.

The supermarket, which earlier this month posted losses of £23.8m for 2002, is reckoned to be considering charging investors £40 for each product below the ceiling, thought to be around £6,000. The charge, if imposed, would come into effect next June, shortly after the end of the Isa season.

Cofunds denies it is considering imposing a charge, saying its only fee changes involve its wrap offering, which launches next year.

Fund groups recently snubbed what they feared was an effort by Cofunds to tap into the extra revenue that some firms enjoy from being on the platform. The supermarket&#39s probe into how groups handle registration fees was seen as a tentative move towards additional charges, prompting several firms to express their concern about the impact of any such decision. Some groups believe this reaction may have led Cofunds to seek ways to boost revenue without hitting firms&#39 pockets, although they warn there could be dire consequences if it presses ahead with the plans.

A senior industry source says: “This is not within the original spirit of the supermarket concept and will make fund managers reassess whether they want to be on these platforms.”

Cofunds marketing director Rick Andrews says: “We have absolutely no plans at all as yet. The only thing that we are looking at is our wrap proposition.”

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