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Life offices are lagging on fund performance

Most life company mutual funds are still languishing in the third or fourth quartile.

Figures from Standard & Poor&#39s reveal that most funds run by life companies or their subsidiaries are lying in the bottom half of fund tables despite concerted efforts to reverse underperformance.

Aegon has eight of its 13 funds in the fourth quartile and three in the third quartile over the past three years. Axa has 14 out of 19 funds in the third or fourth quartile while Isis, formerly Friends Provident and Royal & Sun Alliance, has 14 of 20 funds in quartiles.

Norwich Union has 14 out of 20 funds in the bottom quartiles while Insight, which rebranded from Clerical Medical last year, has eight out of 12 funds in the bottom half of performance tables.

Prudential fares better with seven out of 15 funds in the third or fourth quartile while Scottish Widows has 23 out of 42 funds in the lowest 50 per cent and Standard Life has seven out of 17 funds in the same category. Legal & General has 16 out of 43 funds in the third quartile or below.

Isis director (head of communications & strategy) Jason Hollands says: “Poor performance of these funds has been due to cultural factors but there is more of a performance-oriented culture coming through with some of these companies.”

Insight sales director Stuart Alexander says: “Three years ago, before we were Insight, the business recognised the need to change. There has been a fundamental shift since then, with a number of fund managers coming on board who will do well for us.”

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