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Row over fund pricing will run and run

Everyone knows that some tough talking often goes on between fund managers and distributors whether supermarkets, wraps or fund link providers.

But at PIMS this year, as Money Marketing reported this week, we got a little taster of what these conversations may be really like when two distribution companies in the guise of Skandia and Winterthur suggested that fund managers are taking too big a share of the cake when it comes to charges.

But fund managers argued that investors are happy to pay for performance and that they would lose out by a move to commoditised investment management.

Given that it affects what everyone gets paid for what they do and for what clients and investors are charged no doubt this debate will surely run and run.

Elsewhere Close Investments announced that the fund management business will now fall underneath the entire Close Investments brand, a move that has also seen Roland Kitson replace Stuart Alexander as sales and marketing director on the investment arm.

This is just the latest merger for the firm, with Alexander having spent a vast amount of his 20-month tenure bringing the firm¹s various arms under one banner whether it be Finsbury, Reabourne and now the fund management arm under the investment brand.

With so many changes have taken place at that ³house² in the past couple of years, the impression is that the boutique culture of having these separate arms has clearly not worked as well as they would have wished with group opting to take the view that the sum is clearly greater than its parts when the parts are under one banner.

BestInvest head of communications Justin Modray says: “There are issues over cohesion as the business gives the impression it is somewhat fragmented with arms not exactly pin-pointed at certain investors. It is a problem they will have to solve.”

Meanwhile, Allianz Global Investor has also shifted some 25 funds from its Luxembourg-domiciled Global Investor Selections (GIS) platform to bolster its UK presence in that market.

I find it of interest that a group of this stature would simply decide to throw so many funds with differing mandates into the UK in a bid to garner more business. Would the more prudent route for launching a raft of vehicles across the whole investment remit be to announce their UK distributor status in tranches? For example, the single country funds in one, the bonds products from the Pimco subsidiary in another and so on.

It all feels a bit of quantity over quality. But then again if an industry has ever needed a lesson in the word patience, it is this one, so maybe advisers will be satisfied with this new raft of options.

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Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing My first week in my new role as deputy news editor seems a bit manic, not helped by the MM newsdesk being rather light on bodies due to illness, holiday or the infamous floating conference that is PIMS, which I have somehow managed to avoid for three […]

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