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Schroders set to offer style trusts

Schroders is bidding to become the first major UK-based “style” investment house with the launch of eight new unit trusts.

The launches, which take place on December 1, take Schroders&#39 total number ofunit trusts to 52, giving it the second-biggest range of unit trusts in the UK behind City Financial.

The new funds will invest in the UK, US, European and Japanese markets. Each sector will have an active value fund and a dynamic growth fund. The funds are part of Schroders&#39 initiative to build relationships with the IFA market.

Initial charges on the new funds will be discounted by 2 per cent until January 2001.

Although Schroders is the first UK investment house to set up a major style investment initiative, its funds will not be the first style funds to hit the UK.

US investment house Putnam, which claims to be an innovator in style investment, launched clones of five of its US fund range into the UK in June. Chase Fleming Asset Management also has a couple of style funds.

Style investing looks to pick securities with similar char-acteristics regardless of sector or geography. In the case of Schroders, half of the new funds will stick to value stocks while the other funds will seek growth.

Hargreaves Lansdown investment manager Ben Yearsley says: “This is an interesting idea. Most investors prefer either value or growth and most houses do not provide both. However, there is less need to stick with one investment house these days, especially in the light of developments with fund supermarkets.

“But Schroders has typically been seen as an old-fashioned house and they are definitely making an effort to change and become more IFA-friendly.”

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