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Gartmore&#39s cautious managed fund is a good example of the type of fund that I expect to be widely used next year. The appetite for cautious funds is huge and there is a growing recognition among IFAs that ach-ieving a balance bet-ween equities and bonds is a significant part of giving best advice.

Gartmore is making the fund its main marketing and sales focus for the Isa season.

Recent years have seen many groups place their main focus on funds which would sell well but which maybe did not represent a robust investment solution for the investor.

Although I expect the fund will be marketed as being particularly suitable in these volatile markets, I think that its make-up means it will be suitable at all times. It is a fair assumption that the gap between equity and bond returns will not be so great in future as it has been in the past.

Consequently, it does not make sense to chase one asset class to the exclusion of all others. The manager, Chris Burvill, is a credible manager of lower-risk equity/bond funds and his nine years at the helm of Investec&#39s cautious managed fund saw that fund consistently topping the performance tables.

The charging structure, 3.5 per cent initial and 1.25 per cent annual, is competitive, as are the commission terms of 3 per cent initial and 0.5 per cent renewal. The cautious managed sector will see solid sales next year and competition will hot up. There are a handful of groups vying for pole position and I see Gartmore going head to head with Investec&#39s cautious managed fund and Jupiter&#39s distribution fund.

James Dalby is head of research at Bates Investment Services


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