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German house poised for UK launches

DWS, the asset management arm of the Deutsche Bank group, is to launch an absolute return bond fund and a specialist global equity fund into the UK retail fund market.

Pieter Furnér, who was appointed the head of sales for Britain, the Netherlands and the Nordics in November, says DWS is hoping to stand out with a fund range different from others.

The Frankfurt-based asset manager is planning to acquire distributor status for the DWS diversified fixed income strategy fund, an absolute return strategy investing in bonds. It is also planning to add a retail share class to the fund.

Mark Dowding, the manager, aims to benefit from the development of the global credit and currency markets.

Among its top long positions are the renmimbi (4.5 per cent) and the euro (4.3 per cent), while his top short ones are the dollar (9.3 per cent) and the Japanese yen (3.9 per cent).

About 28 per cent of his £135.2m fund is held in government bonds, 24 per cent in investment grade corporate financials and 21 per cent in investment grade corporate non-financials.

The second new addition to the British fund range is likely to be the DWS Invest Global Thematic fund, a global equity fund investing in selected trends and themes.

Oliver Kratz, the manager, holds 94.8 per cent of his £108m fund in equities, with the remainder in cash, warrants and other assets.

“We would like to differentiate ourselves from others with a mix of specialist strategies.”

He takes active bets in financials, where 21.5 per cent of his fund is invested, healthcare (12.9 per cent) and consumer staples (11.4 per cent).

However, the fund is underweight utilities (1.1 per cent), materials (4.5 per cent) and energy (8.1 per cent).

With 48 per cent, nearly half of the portfolio is invested in America, and another 10.1 per cent is in Japan and 7.1 per cent in Britain.

Both funds are Luxembourg-domiciled Sicavs. The group expects them to be available within the second quarter of this year.

DWS made a comeback in the British retail fund market with a range of regional and thematic funds last year.

More than four years after the German group sold its entire fund range to Aberdeen Asset Management, it had acquired distributor status and added sterling-denominated share classes to 10 of its highest-profile funds.

“The UK market is very competitive,” Furnée says. “We would like to differentiate ourselves from others with a mix of specialist strategies.”

Furnée says DWS has already attracted significant interest with its range of niche and specialist offerings.

So far, the DWS Invest Global Agribusiness has been the most popular fund among British retail investors, he adds.

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