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Dresdner creates niche

Crowe says: “The minimum investment is only £2,000. There are no additional charges over the underlying asset charges and it offers diversification by investing in a number of Dresdner’s collective investment schemes.” Elms cites the wide investment spread and the inclusion of offshore funds as useful features.

Turning to the disadvantages of the product, Chitroda says: “It has a low profile with hardly any marketing. It appears to be targeted at high net worth individuals, although the minimum investment is only £2,000.”

Crowe says: “It is offshore-based and therefore of restricted or limited attraction. International funds are not in vogue as clients are becoming more geographically aware and geographically specific”

Upton says: “To my mind, those investing offshore generally will be reasonably financially sophisticated and might not want all the underlying assets managed by one company.”

Laymond thinks the main disadvantage is that the investor cannot influence investment decisions.

Assessing Dresdner’s reputation, Chitroda says: “It is good amongst intermediaries, although members of the public would not necessarily recognise it against well-known names like Fidelity, Jupiter, Schroder, M& G and Perpetual.” Elms thinks it is okay while Upton believes it is solid.

Laymond says: “Dresdner is the current name of long-established banking houses going back 100 years, all of which are highly respected including Kleinwort Benson. They have managed private clients’ money for over a century.”

Commenting on Dresdner’s past performance, Upton says: “A few of the UK funds seemed to have performed well, the North American seems ok – the rest seem uninspiring.

Chitroda says: “It appears to have a reasonable past performance – although nothing to write home about.” Elms thinks it is okay. Laymond says: ” It has sustained long-term performance. Dresdner RCM has other funds all provide top quartileresults in invstments in unit trust and pension fund sectors.”

Moving onto which products are likely to provide the main competition, Crowe goes for some of the themed international funds. Laymond says: “Those from other private client houses such as Schroders, Credit Suisse and Mercury. Chitroda says: “Invesco GT’s Dublin-based offshore funds, Fidelity’s Luxemburg-based flagship funds and Fleming’s Luxemburg-based flagship funds.”

Crowe says: “Onshore I would say Newton international growth and Fidelity managed international. Offshore, I would say Equitable Life international growth and Newton international assets.

Turning to whether the charges are fair and reasonable, most of the panel think it is in line with the market. But Elms says: “The high initial charge is offset somewhat by nil annual management fee.”

Moving onto whether the commission is fair and reasonable, the lack of renewal commission does not go down well with the panel. Chitroda says: “The initial 3 per cent is fair, but what about the trail commission? Should they not be going to 0.5 per cent for intermediaries? Upton says: “No – there is no mention of renewal commission for ongoing advice..” Laymond says: “It is fairly normal. But this is not an issue as no doubt most advisers would be charging fees if they are handling the sort of clients in this market.”

On the whole, the panel are not impressed with the product literature. Laymond says: “It is not as clear as it could have been. A more simplistic approach may produce more sales.” Upton agrees. He says: “It is very technical and not appealing to those wanting a simple outline.”

Chitroda says: “The brochure is well designed and looks classy, but like most offshore prospectuses, it is boring to read and would easily put a lay person to sleep.” Crowe thinks it is acceptable but had difficulties finding the commission rates. Elms calls it “minimalist”.

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