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NU goes green for the future

Lynch points to the range of funds available, and the reputation of the fund management house, while Henry says: "The desire to help preserve the world is a very good feature, especially as this is a growing market which should produce very good financial returns in the long term."

Flowers says: "This product offers a new angle on ethical investment, and is playing on what is an emerging theme. Norwich Union is a big name to have behind a new product launch. The fact that it is an Oeic also makes it a flexible product. However it is unusual to have a corporate bond option as well as various international funds available."

Moving on to the disadvantages of the fund, Lynch says: "Any fund setting limits to investment can be at a disadvantage, as certain sectors are automatically off limits for investment. However the scope is wide within this range of this fund, so it should not be too limited."

Flowers says: "This fund is not cheap and it relies on internal research and analysis, as opposed to using well used agencies such as the Ethical Investment Research Service. Also confusion will probably arise between this fund and Norwich Union’s own ethical fund."

Henry says: "People need to be aware of the destruction that is being caused to the environment, and this is in short supply with this fund. This is an obvious disadvantage to this product’s chances of quick success, especially when compared to some of the other products available on the market."

Turning to the investment strategy, Flowers says: "The fund is strong on a thematic perspective, but is weak from a financial analysis perspective."

Lynch says: "Thematic investment is this year’s story. Some funds claim to be thematic, but are not truly so. This product does appear to be thematic and, providing Norwich Union’s research is sound, the investment strategy should succeed."

Henry says: "The investment managers knowledge of the companies targeted is paramount. I think that research carried out before investing in a company is a very good idea. The strategy used to identify the companies with a true desire for socially responsible investment will produce long term investment."

Moving on to the reputation of Norwich Union, Hulbert thinks that this is excellent. Lynch says that it is one of the best companies around at the moment. Flowers says: "Norwich Union has a strong, if unexciting, reputation."

Henry says: "Norwich Union is a very well known company and people are very comfortable with it. Its desire to adapt to changes in market conditions with new and innovative products will keep it in business. Its reputation gives it a competitive edge."

Taking a look at the product literature, Hulbert is not complimentary. He says: "The literature is nothing special. I am particularly perturbed by unsubstantiated statements such as ‘the increased incidence of asthma that is linked to pollution by cars’. There is no such proven link following various studies. One example is that the county of Norfolk has one of the highest rates of asthma in the UK, but one of the lowest vehicle density patterns, which contradicts the Norwich Union statement."

Lynch says: "It is clear and well set out. Norwich Unions house style is now very good." Henry adds: "The literature is good. At a glance you can identify the message that they are trying to pass on, without having to plough through the fine print."

Flowers is more cautious. He says: "The product literature is ok, but is a touch patronising and has the remains of the dinosaur touch, as you can only invest in three Isa funds, or you must maintain a minimum holding."


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