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Investec calls up new mobile technology

Commenting on the main useful features of the product, Lakey says: "One strong point is that the wireless theme makes the ethos very distinctive," while Watkins says: "I like the methodical method of stock selection, with a top down sector by sector approach."

Stevens adds: "While there may be only 30 to 40 stocks in the fund, the volatility may be reduced by investment in the blue chip companies who seek to reduce their costs by investing in this kind of technology. We are all being encouraged to administer our own financial affairs using technology."

Looking at the products disadvantages, Watkins says: "Wireless world may suffer from the recent adverse publicity surrounding cancer from mobile phones. It may also grow too quickly and become too big so that it loses its leading edge reputation."

Lakey says: "Being a US dollar denominated fund, it may prove somewhat complex for all but the most clued-up investor," while Stevens points to the fact that there is no mention of whether or not the product can be used in an Isa.

Examining the investment strategy, Watkins says: "It follows a top down sector by sector approach, which is methodical and can be reliable. The strategy is a proven method of stock selection."

Lakey says: "This has a focused strategy which is primarily based in America. It is also likely to be volatile."

However Stevens says: "With 31 per cent of the fund in small companies and 28 per cent in titans, the balance should reduce volatility, but of course this could also reduce the potential return."

Chapman says: "Although I believe in the wireless story as a theme, I think that to launch a fund purely to exploit this sector is somewhat restrictive, especially as it has a concentrated portfolio of 30 to 40 stocks."

The panel does agree that Investec has a good reputation in the market. Watkins says: "Investec has a very good track record, particularly in the new economy area of the market."

Lakey says: "It has a very good reputation and has proven itself capable of consistently above average expertise." Stevens adds: "It is not a high profile company from the consumers point of view, but IFAs will know them of course."

Focusing on the products that will provide the main competition to the fund, Chapman says: "There are a number of telecoms funds, such as those from Fidelity and Invesco, as well as all the technology funds, which are now too many to choose from."

Lakey feels that the competition will come from Framlington’s NetNet fund, Fidelity’s new thematic funds and the LeggMason telecom fund, while Stevens points to the technology funds from Aberdeen, Henderson and Scottish Equitable.

However Watkins says: "Technology funds will probably be confused with or likened to this fund, and will therefore be treated as the same type. I do not believe that there is an identical investment opportunity offered by another fund manager."

Chapman and Watkins agree that the charges are fair and reasonable, while Lakey feels that the charges are typical for the specialist sector. Stevens adds: "The charges are fair, although the annual charge of 1.75 is a little high and will, I hope, be justified by active fund management."

Commenting on the commission, the panel think this is fair and reasonable.

Looking at the product literature the panel is in two minds. Chapman says: "It has fairly basic graphics, but has a lot of information crammed in," while Watkins feels that the literature is informative and helpful.

Stevens says: "I liked the literature, as it is informative. The volatility and long-term nature of the investment is mentioned within it, but is not emphasised."


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