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Product matters

With the changes in tax legislation for VCTs in the last Budget there has been a slew of offers trying to capitalise on renewed interest in the sector.

Some of these have come from VCT managers with demonstrable track records,others are from the unit trust industry and some observers have questioned the commitment of these newcomers.

There is room for those who look to improve the sector and Keydata has done its homework. It is about to launch an Aim VCT run by Giles Hargreave who has had outstanding success with his Marlborough special sits fund, which invests in small-cap and Aim stocks. Keydata believes he can transfer his skills to the VCT arena.

The management team is demonstrating its commitment by seeding the VCT with £1m. The annual charge is capped at 1.8 per cent, which may sound high compared with other types of investment, such as unit trusts, but in its peer group is reasonable.

The investment team, Hargreave Hale, also intends to send out a monthly factsheet to keep investors informed of progress, which has been lacking with some issues from other VCT managers where it is hard enough trying to find out the NAV, let alone recent transactions. Only Octopus Asset Management is committed to a similar level of communication.

Another attractive feature, which is starting to become commonplace, is a buyback facility where the management will buy back shares at no more than a 10 per cent discount to the prevailing NAV which should improve marketability of the shares.

Darius McDermott is managing director of Chelsea Financial Services

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