Institutional multi-manager giant Frank Russell took its first major step into the UK retail market this week as it entered into an alliance with Scottish Widows.
The deal will see Widows roll out a new range of multi-manager funds at the end of next month, each investing in a combination of Russell's manager of manager portfolios. Each of Russell's 15 portfolios are managed by a combination of top fund managers to specific institutional-style mandates.
The Russell portfolios use more than 50 investment houses and will bring the expertise of many groups to the UK retail market for the first time. They include household names such as Fidelity and Schroders as well as lesser-known providers such as Peachtree and Jacobs Levy.
Widows has yet to confirm how many new multi-manager funds it will be launching but says it will cover the full risk spectrum.
Minimum investment on the new funds will be £1,000 lump sum or £50 a month. Commission will be a standard 3 per cent initial, with 0.5 per cent trail. Charges have not yet been finalised but Widows insists that total expense ratios will be around half of most fund of fund multi-manager products on the market.
Russell is one the world's biggest manager of manager providers, with around £44bn in assets worldwide, of which £8.5bn is in Europe.
Widows chief executive Mike Ross says: “We will be able to offer IFAs an unrivalled range of premier investment options encompassing self-select single manager solutions and independently managed multi-manager solutions.”
Frank Russell chief executive Frederic Jolly says: “We are very proud to be working with Scottish Widows, wid-ely recognised as the most powerful and respected financial services brand in the UK.”