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Gartmore in packed VCT market

Gartmore is to relaunch into the venture capital trust market this autumn despite warnings from industry pundits that the market is saturated.

Details of the new Gartmore fund are yet to be finalised although it is expected to be managed by UK & Irish smaller companies fund manager Gervais Williams.

The fund manager originally entered the market in April 1996 with the launch of the Gartmore VCT.

Nine other companies have already announced intentions to launch VCTs this autumn, with target subscriptions now totalling more than £200m.

But commentators are predicting total industry sales for the entire 2001/02 tax year of only £250m to £300m, with the less experienced names likely to suffer much of the gloom.

Those who have already announced launches include experienced managers such as Northern Ventures, Quester and Friends Ivory & Sime. However, the lesser-known Electra Kingsway and Unicorn Asset Management are looking to raise more than £60m between them.

There are also expected to be top-up issues from Artemis, Proven, Pennine Downing, as well as the possibility of a new fund from the Matrix Trivest camp.

Hargreaves Lansdown investment manager Ben Yearsley says: “I think the market is saturated. The good ones will fill up very quickly and the not so good will be left with only small amounts of money in them, which is bad for investors.”

Investment, p30

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