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Industry role questioned over invest & give fund

Arch Financial Planning managing director Arthur Childs has questioned how charitable a role the fund industry is playing in the invest & give fund.

The multi-manager fund with a charitable slant is managed by John Husselbee of North Investment Partners and benefits from reduced charges on funds managed by invest & give’s 12 founding partners, which include Artemis, F&C and Threadneedle.

These discounts will enable the total expense ratio, including the donation, to remain within the industry norm.

The multi-asset fund that enables investors to donate to The Prince’s Trust youth charity through a 0.6 per cent annual charge on top of a 0.95 per cent annual management charge. There is 1 per cent initial commission payable to IFAs – which they can choose to surrender – and they will receive 0.25 per cent renewal.

Childs says that although he has enthusiasm for the innovation of the fund, it is the IFAs and the investors who are the contributors.

He says: “I feel that it is the investors and their IFAs who are the real givers here, more so than the investment groups who will no doubt get a lot of kudos from this but in reality seem to be providing nothing unusual in terms of their own costs.”

Chelsea Financial Services head of research Juliet Schooling Latter wonders if pressure to keep costs low will impact on fund selection.

She says: “I applaud the idea behind it and think some inves-tors will be happy that some of their investment is going to a good cause.

“However, the performance has to be good enough to provide good returns to investors as well and I wonder if the manager will be under pressure to deal with the founding partners. As an investor, you would hope the manager is picking the best of breed – and it may be that the founding partners do have a range of funds to cover everything.”

Husselbee says: “At the end of the day, this is an unprecedented project to put together and the bottom line is that as an investment proposition, in order to succeed, it needs to perform. The charges on the fund are no greater than other funds in the sector and the donation is being made out of those assets.”

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