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Credit Agricole courts retail investors

Credit Agricole Asset Management, part of the French banking group, has opened its institutional CA Funds Europe equity research fund to retail investors.

This fund is a Luxemburg-based Sicav that was established for institutional investors in June 2001. Retail investors can now access the fund through the classic share class, which sits alongside the private and institutional share classes.

It invests in a portfolio of around 70 European stocks selected by a team of 16 analysts in London and Paris, using in-house research. Each analyst is a specialist in a single sector, but there are no specific sector allocations. The fund is benchmarked against the MSCI Europe index and the analysts aim to beat the sector index rather than the benchmark. N o more than 20 stocks are recommended from each sector.

The stocks are ranked from 1 to 20 and are split into five groups, rated from A to E. A and B rated stocks are buy recommendations, C rated stocks are neutral while D and E rated stocks are sell recommendations. This allows analysts to update their recommendations and the portfolio is constructed around the top ranked A and B rated stocks.

With positive signs emerging from the US, the outlook is the same for Europe. However, European markets are still uncertain and Credit Agricole&#39s analysts will need to ensure their research is spot on to attract retail investors.

According to Standard & Poor&#39s, the Credit Agricole CA Funds European sector select fund is ranked 67 out of 186 funds based on £1,000 invested on a bid-to-bid basis with gross income reinvested over three years to March 25, 2002.

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