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Panellists take profits

Of the three Adviser Fund Indices, the Aggressive AFI saw the heaviest turnover of constituents at the rebalancing on May 1. With 21 of the 107 funds appearing in the last AFI season (from November 1, 2005 to April 30, 2006) being dumped from the riskiest index by the adviser panellists, this represents a fund turnover of 20 per cent. The inclusion of 22 new funds saw the number of constituents in the Aggressive AFI increase to 108.

Many of the 18 panellists overhauled their Aggressive AFI portfolio recommendations significantly, taking profits from strongly performing funds while dumping constituents that failed to impress. Among the casualties were Axa Framlington’s health and Nasdaq funds, Investec global energy and Fidelity American. Of the 21 funds ousted from the Aggressive AFI, 13 are no longer represented across the AFI series.

While not being dropped from the Aggressive AFI, several funds had their weightings cut down significantly, including Artemis income, First State Asia Pacific leaders and Legg Mason US equity.

The short-term performance of most of the new entrants to the Aggressive AFI is unsurprisingly strong. Seven of the 21 top-performing funds in the index over the six months to May 11, 2006 were introduced at the rebalancing point, including Neptune European opportunities (up 48.1 per cent), Martin Currie emerging markets (up 36.8 per cent) and Resolution Argonaut European alpha (up 35.8 per cent).

Of the constituents present in the Aggressive AFI prior to May 1, the weightings of Fidelity European, Jupiter financial opportunities and Lazard UK alpha saw the biggest percentage rises following the rebalancing, with panellists increasing their exposure to these strongly performing portfolios.

While changes to the underlying funds held in the riskiest index were significant, the overall asset allocation of the Aggressive AFI saw only minor alterations. The panellists’ clear preference for shares over bonds, property and cash was reinforced with the total equity weighting rising to 92 per cent of the index, split almost equally between the UK and overseas.

Exposure to British (46 per cent), European (14 per cent) and global emerging market equities rose while allocations to North America (9 per cent) and fixed interest (4 per cent) were lower following the rebalancing.

The performance of the Aggressive AFI has continued to be strong, with a total return of 49.2 per cent from November 1, 2004 to May 11, 2006, according to Financial Express. Indeed, returns from all three AFIs have been solid.

Paul Wynne, head of marketing and communication at Financial Express, says: “The outperformance of the AFI series illustrates the superiority of good advice over equity benchmarks or trackers.”

The Adviser Fund Index series comprises an Aggressive, Balanced and Cautious index each tracking the performance of portfolio recommendations from a panel of 18 investment advisers. For each risk profile, all panellists specify a weighted portfolio of up to 10 funds from the authorised UK unit trust and Oeic universe that, when aggregated, define the constituents and weightings of the three AFIs.

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