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ScotEq glitch brings back-office rethink

The Forsyth managed cautious fund is an offshore fund of funds that invests in a range of asset classes. Both points out that inevitably a new fund has no track record, but to attract money, a solid one is required. He says: “Forsyth has not seen fit to …

Scottish Equitable, a long-term supporter of the Raising Standards scheme, is overhauling its back office after a glitch led to it producing client literature not compliant with the initiative.

The firm switched to man-ual processing of its older section 32 contract annual statements after a system problem but had to issue new contracts after it found the statements did not comply with Raising Standards’ requirements.

The main problem was und-erstood to be the inclusion in the annual statements of bid/ offer spreads, the sort of jargon which is against the aims of Raising Standards. ScotEq is reconfiguring its systems. It is not yet known how many customers were affected.

The Raising Standards scheme, set up in 2000, aims to promote better standards of customer service, clear product information and ease of comparison between products.

ScotEq was among the first to adopt the scheme, gaining accreditation in October 2001, and praised by the Pensions Protection Investments Accredi- tation Board, for playing a “major role in developing awareness of the scheme”.

A ScotEq spokeswoman says: “We are working to sort out the system problem as soon as possible.”

Roberts Clark director Ashley Clark says: “Raising Standards is a good thing but the diffi- culty is that we are talking about legal contracts which are difficult to simplify.”

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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

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