View more on these topics

Julian Gibbs

An unsung hero is Alec Foster, manager of the Hiscox insurance portfolio unit trust, because of his investment performance as well as his stockpicking acumen. He has managed to outperform the insurance sector benchmark and the FTSE All Share index by substantial margins since the fund was launched in late 1998. Since then, the fund has risen by around 40 per cent, the benchmark by around 10 per cent but the All Share index has fallen by about 5 per cent over the period.

Foster believes that the outlook for insurance companies is outstanding, particularly for property and casualty insurance in the US. This is partly a result of world terrorism, which has resulted in major companies making sure that they are fully and comprehensively insured. This, in turn, has meant that insurance premiums are higher than they have been for some time.

Foster believes this position will continue to remain strong over the next two or three years. It is expected that the property and casualty sector will show profit growth of between 15 and 20 per cent over the coming year. This is a level of growth that cannot be matched with any certainty in most other sectors of the stockmarket.

In the UK, which accounts for around 20 per cent of the fund, Hiscox&#39s total exposure is investments in Lloyds&#39 companies, based on Foster&#39s belief that many will surprise the market on the upside in announcing their profits and dividends.

The fund has no exposure to UK life companies but does invest a small proportion of the portfolio in some of the betterrun US life companies. There is also a holding of round 6 per cent in Warren Buffet&#39s company, Berkshire Hathaway.

This fund should certainly be part of all bigger equity portfolios for at least the next two or three years.


Independent view

Have we lost the hearts and minds of our clients when we talk about pensions? The public&#39s perception of pensions and providers is at a very low ebb. I see more clients about buy-to-let mortgages in connection with retirement provision than about pensions. Is there any way that we can get back their confidence and […]

Savills swoops for Charcol top seller

Savills is recruiting Charcol&#39s top-earning consultant, its Cambridge branch director and the branch head of administration to set up an East Anglia office. Former branch director Neil Walker and highest-earning consultant Chris Galpin are understood to be leaving Charcol&#39s Cambridge office and are set to join Savills within weeks. Charcol, which is in last-ditch talks […]

Interlink Premier firms win court delay

Former Interlink Premier Network members have gained a court adjournment they hope will prevent their former network hanging on to their renewal commission. Members have asked the court for more time to prepare for the hearing which will decide whether the renewal commission from providers belongs to the members. Interlink ceased trading on March 18 […]

Correspondent&#39s week

Short weeks are a pain in the proverbial. I got back after the Easter break only to find that Guardian readers still read the paper even while on holiday and that they have filled up my email in-box with lots of comments, suggestions and general observations. The first thing I do is thank them for […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm