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Journey to the centre of the surf

In this new column, I will be analysing the information that IFAs download from the Old Broad Street Research website to see what trends emerge.

I will look at which funds and sectors are most popular and evaluate the reasons why certain funds and sectors gain or lose interest.

I will use rolling quarterly data to monitor trends, so this month I have compared March, April and May. I also use the cumulative total for the quarter to discover what has caught the eye of IFAs.

Our new fund rating site at was launched in March and feedback has been extremely positive, with IFAs telling us they find the site informative and useful. About 300 funds from the total UK universe of around 3,000 carry OBSR fund ratings and factsheets about these funds, among a plethora of other information, can be accessed via the site.

The top 10 most frequently downloaded factsheets for the quarter ended May 31 are shown in the top table (right). What does it tell us?

Four Invesco Perpetual funds managed by Neil Woodford, Paul Read and Paul Causer or a combination of all three feature in the top 10. It is perhaps no surprise that these excellent fund managers have built such a huge following, given their loyalty to their firms and investment processes combined with excellent long-term returns.

If we break down the statistics on information sought via sector, what we see in the bottom table (right) is that the UK is still top of the pops with IFAs, even during a time when lots of UK stocks have been underperforming.

Interestingly, the third most popular sector is global growth, which would seem to be reflected by the increasing amount of press coverage that the sector generates.

It is interesting to note that intermediaries are acknowledging the opportunities that exist in global equity markets and specific areas within them, such as emerging markets and Asia, increasingly more so than traditional regional funds. The specialist sector has been buoyed by commodities and natural resources funds which are producing spectacular returns.

Finally, the figures suggest intermediaries are looking beyond just investment-grade bonds for their clients’ fixed-income exposure.

As the months go by, I anticipate that new fads and trends will influence the decision-making of IFAs and this column will help keep your finger on the pulse.

In next month’s column, we will analyse data from the OBSR multi-manager ratings service.1 Invesco Perpetual high income2 Invesco Perpetual monthly income plus3 Invesco Perpetual income4 First State Asia Pacific leaders5 Neptune balanced6 Neptune global equity7 Invesco Perpetual corporate bond8 JP Morgan natural resources9 M&G recovery10 First State global emerging markets leaders

Source: 1 UK all companies2 UK equity income3 Global growth4 Specialist5 UK other bond



Clarifications on court cases

I don’t want to be too precious about Nic Cicutti’s column in last week’s issue but I need to make some clarifications. Gareth Fatchett was not the solicitor of record for the Pickerings. They instructed counsel directly.

Don’t look down on protection

An elitist attitude towards protection sales is being adopted by a number of IFAs, according to Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey.

Benefits - thumbnail

Global benefits predictions for 2015 from Jelf International

According to Doug Rice, managing director of international services, in 2015, managing their international duty of care will become an increasing focus for UK-based overseas organisations in both managing their short- and longer-term challenges. As a result, strong independent advice and innovative technological solutions will become more important than ever in managing their global benefits.


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