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Product Matters

The simplification of the Pep/Isa rules offers a superb opportunity not only to provide a service for existing investors but also to attract new prospects.

The possibilities offered by fund supermarkets are exciting. Whether one chooses Cofunds – 230 funds from 25 managers, or Fidelity&#39s FundsNetwork – 440 funds from 32 providers, there are significant opportunities for consolidation, rationalisation, diversification but, above all, simplification.

The media so far have concerned themselves with the opportunity for investors to diversify geographically. Although this is of some appeal particularly to mainly younger clients, the real story is single-company Peps and bundling.

Those investors fortunate to have been offered save as you earn and profit-sharing schemes and to have had the foresight to have made use of single-company Peps can now reduce the stock-specific risk within their asset profiles. This opportunity comes as many people have been introduced to stock-specific risk.

Similarly, those management groups which have been unable to unbundle Peps will now find themselves severely punished. It seems likely that many advisers will be justified in gradually switching Peps to the supermarkets. Perhaps the biggest benefit of this consolidation process is the reduction in the amount of paperwork for client and adviser. The attractions of a single statement and point of contact cannot be overestimated.

Michael Owen is joint managing director of Plan Invest Group


Charity begins at an ethical home

Of course, the very name stakeholder is imbued with the rhetoric of New Labour. Many providers will be going one step further and will be offering the option of having stakeholder funds invested ethically. What is ethical, of course, is relative. The whole point of stakeholder and the criteria by which it will be judged […]

With-profits bond gives guarantees

Scottish Mutual International is introducing a guaranteed with-profits bond. The single-premium unitised bond is available from April 17 and will initially be open only to residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. But Scottish Mutual says it will roll out the plan in the UK if there is enough demand from investors. […]

Merrill Lynch goes back to the future

Merrill Lynch Investment Managers is putting its faith in the future, with the introduction of the MST world technology fund.The fund is a Luxemburg based SICAV and has been designed with the experienced investor in mind who is seeking to add a high-risk, high-return fund to add to an existing portfolio.The fund will invest in […]

Affluent investors relying on advice

Nearly two-thirds of mass affluent investors have their investments managed for them or rely on professional advice, according to research from HSBC&#39s private client bank. But around 40 per cent of the mass affluent – those with at least £30,000 to invest – feel confident enough to manage their own investments. The requirement for professional […]


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