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SLI aiming to be major investment trust player

Standard Life Investments plans to become a major player in the investment trust sector buoyed by strong retail fund sales in the first half of the year.

The move forms part of ambitious plans to make SLI into a leading international investment house. The firm is unable to say whether it will set up investment trusts from scratch or buy existing companies or managers.

Despite difficult market conditions over the last year, SLI has seen sales rise. Interim results show total sales up by 42 per cent to £1.7bn from £1.2bn over the same period last year. Sales of mut-ual funds are up to £207m to May 2002 from £134m in 2001. Total assets under management have grown to £80m from £70m.

Chief investment officer Keith Skeoch says: “We believe we are well placed to secure a market share of the investment trust arena. We have an investment platform in place that can generate strong and consistent performance as well as a good distribution network. The investment trust business is a natural fit with other things we do and we can really add value.”

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “Certainly, SLI have been trying to make a major dent in the investment market but I wonder about the timing, with the way that investment trusts are viewed by the public at the moment.”

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