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Isis moves to asset class avenue

ISIS ASSET MANAGEMENT

Isis Multi-Manager Distribution Fund

Type:
Oeic fund of funds

Aim:
Income and growth by investing in Oeics, unit trusts, investment trusts and property

Minimum investment:
Lump sum £1,000,
monthly £50

Investment split:
30% equity funds, 50% fixed interest funds,
20% property funds

Isa link:
Yes

Pep transfers:
Yes:

Charges:
Initial 5%,
annual 1.25%

Commission:
Initial 3%,
renewal 0.5%

Special offer:
Initial commission increased up to 4.5%

Offer period:
Until April 30, 2003

Tel: 0845 799 2299

The Isis multi-manager distribution fund is a fund that takes advantage of the European directive Ucits III, which allows mixed asset classes. It has exposure to bonds, equities and property.

Ronald Blue & Co managing director David Flowers thinks multi manager is now a significant part of the investment world&#39s offering. However, he adds that the main challenge is in providing the service at a reasonable cost. He says: “These funds will have to work very hard to justify their annual charges in an era of low growth where every percentage point of cost is a significant erosion in the performance of the fund.”

Looking at the charges on the Isis fund he says: “The charges on the Isis fund are competitive, although they will still amount to a drag on performance of about 2 per cent a year. This is made up of a 1.25 per cent charge for the Isis service plus an annual management charge from the underlying funds in the order of 0.75 per cent and includes a trail commission of 0.5 per cent to the IFA.”

Flowers does not like the fact that it is hard to work out the charges. He complains providers are still shy of being up front &#45 which he thinks is daft when it is the first question a good adviser is going to ask. Having said that, he thinks the charges on the Isis fund are in line with the competition.

On a positive note Flowers says: “I like the investment protection benefit that Isis offers. If an investor dies and the fund value is below the original amount invested, Isis will make up the difference. Isis also promises to e-mail the IFA whenever there is a portfolio change. This could provide real added value in giving IFAs ongoing information to pass on to their clients.”

Assessing the fund&#39s investment strategy Flowers says: “The manager, Richard Philbin, aided and abetted by financial analyst Patrick Blessing, is building a good track record in fund selection. The result of the multi-manager selection is that the fund is very well diversified among underlying securities, fund managers and styles. The fund seems well allocated &#45 a conservative approach, with an appealing yield, which fits a distribution fund.”

Finally, Flowers examines the fund&#39s switching facility and is not overly impressed. He says: “There is a 1 per cent charge for switches to one of the other three multi-manager funds but no switch facility to other Isis funds. This provides a restriction which would imply that Isis aiming for an unsophisticated market where, once invested, the holder is unlikely to need any changes.”

BROKER RATINGS:

Suitability to market: Good
Investment strategy: Good
Charges: Poor
Adviser remuneration: Average

Overall 7/10

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