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Lawrence in balancing act

Lawrence House Fund Managers

Lawrence House Balanced Managed Fund

Type: Oeic fund of funds

Aim: Growth by investing globally in collective investment schemes investing in equities and fixed-interest securities

Minimum investment: Lump sum 2,500, monthly 100

Investment split: 84% equities, 16% fixed-interest securities

Isa link: Yes

Pep transfers: Yes

Charges: Initial 5%, annual 1.5%

Commission: Initial 3%, renewal 0.5%

Tel: 01227 819818

The Lawrence House balanced managed fund is an Oeic fund of funds investing in UK equities and fixed interest securities.

Chase de Vere research manager Justine Fearns says: “The balanced fund has been structured with broker feedback in mind which is a big brownie point for Lawrence House and is evidence of its intention for service to be its key proposition. “

Fearns feels that although the fund is not expected to produce stellar returns, it should be able to provide greater protection in falling markets. Fearns mentions that the manager, Alan Stokes, will never be completely bear on an asset class as he believes this can delay getting back into a rising market, and that valuable performance can be lost. However, he will take significant underweight positions if he feels its necessary.

While marketing the fund solely through IFAs is not unique, Fearns believes it shows Lawrence Houses commitment to the IFA market and could prove a useful sales tool. She says: “There is a strong intention to develop an interactive website with full literature, updates and news which would be useful.”

Fearns regards the adviser remuneration and charges as in line with the market but would prefer lower charges. She explains: “Most of the competitors have a strong track record, which means they can afford to maintain higher costs, Lawrence House is, as yet, untried so will have to work hard to justify these charges.”

Highlighting the negative aspects of the fund, Fearns says: “It is entering a crowded market with plenty of established players. It has a potentially strong proposition but currently has little that is new and innovative to offer. This may hinder its ability to generate interest, unless it gets its marketing activity and service proposition spot on.”

She also questions whether Lawrence House should have gone for a less benchmark-driven product that makes use of Ucits III regulations, but adds there is a place for funds tied to a benchmark.

Fearns feels competition will come from the likes of Gartmore, Isis and Insight. She concludes: “Lawrence House will have to be exceptionally strong to compete with these guys.”

BROKER RATINGS

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

Overall 6/10

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