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Jupiter moves greenwards with new trust

Snowden says: “The participating convertible shares available on offer, at one for every five ordinary shares, will be attractive. Other strong points include the low savings minimum of £30 a month and the facility for investment via an ISA. There is also fund manager Simon Baker’s track record of environmentally friendly investment.”

Stevens points to the fact that the trust can be used to utilise a capital gains tax allowance. He adds: “Another useful feature is the fact that you can switch to other in house investments trusts – watch out for the one per cent charge though.”

Examining the drawbacks that the product possesses, Snowden says: “The recent publicity surrounding Jupiter will continue to impact negatively and only time and good investment performance will undo this.”

Stevens says: “The reduction in yield is on the high side, at 1.9 per cent for Isas. If the investment strategy is to remain as for the Jupiter international green investment trust, the volatility at 11.4 per cent against the sector average of 5.8 is very high. This is not an investment for the faint-hearted. Also the loan facility of up to 35 per cent of assets may increase the risk if it is taken up.”

Rutter says: “The trust has an initial life to 2008 with an continuation vote. This may be both confusing and off-putting to some investors. Also there is the high minimum of £125 into the Isa regular savings plan, although I suspect that they are not after this market.”

Turning to the investment strategy of the trust, the panel is positive. Stevens says: “I agree that environmental problems are not going to disappear, and as emerging countries develop they are going to need to address these issues. Developed countries will be forced to help them out (Russia for example will need Western help). Also fund manager Simon Baker has had 20 years experience, so he should know a thing or two.”

Rutter says: “The investment philosophy is sound enough to appeal to the environmentalists and investment clients alike. The product is also unhampered by either geography or company size.”

Snowden says: “There appears to be a realistic and down-to-earth approach to the investment philosophy which is refreshing in an area where realism can sometimes be the victim of idealism. The best in class basis should ensure the investment philosophy is pursued aggressively.”

Looking at the reputation of Jupiter, the panel has mixed feelings. Stevens says: “Generally it is very good. However I was worried about the timing of the Jupiter technology fund launch last year, which I thought was a case of panic bandwagon jumping. This fund has suffered of course. Jupiter was unwise to buy into such a heady market and it would have been better to wait than chance denting its credibility.”

Snowden says: “Jupiter’s previously excellent reputation has been tarnished by all the negative press attention, and investors will always wonder at the professional capabilities of a team that allowed itself to get into such an adverse situation. Investors and advisers do worry the effects that bad publicity has on manager’s morale and motivation.”

Rutter is more positive. He says: “Jupiter has a very good reputation, particularly in the UK and green sectors. The past record of its ecology unit trust will stand it in good stead. Its advertising over the last couple of years has increased its name awareness with the general public. It is also considered to be quite innovative.”

Evaluating the product literature, Snowden says: “It is well set out and attractive. The Jupiter ‘globe’ is well known and will attract many investors who are kindly disposed to Jupiter because of other funds held. The brochure is well set out and very readable.”

Stevens regards the literature as being very good, but Rutter adds: “I was a little disappointed. The non-ISA application form could have been incorporated with the other applications. The mini-prospectus is typically bland and regulatory.”

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