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Fund managers&#39 confidence plunges

Confidence among fund managers plummeted in the last quarter of 2000, according to a survey by the Confed eration of Brit ish Industry and Price WaterhouseCoopers.

The survey found business confidence fell to -28 per cent for the last quarter from 30 per cent in the third quarter.

Business volumes in the sector also fell to -15 per cent in the fourth quarter from 47 per cent in the third quarter.

The survey predicts only modest business volumes of the first quarter of the year. Traditionally, this is the busiest time of the year as individuals seek to use their tax allow ances before April 5.

PWC global leader (inv estment management group) Simon Jeffreys points to the competition from new players such as electronic fund supermarkets and the growing presence of US and European fund managers in the UK market as a reason why confidence has fallen.

Jeffreys says the internal costs facing fund managers remain relatively fixed, so any decline in business is directly felt at the bottom line as a hit on profits.

He says: “The increasing competition in the fund management sector has a lot to do with the blow to their confidence in the last quarter.

“The climate is becoming more difficult for fund managers as far as fees are concerned.”

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