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Stoakley defends Schroders’ move into specialist funds

Schroders managing director of UK retail Robin Stoakley has defended the firm from advisers who question its recent raft of specialist fund launches into fashionable areas.

Schroders has announced a trio of specialist products in recent weeks, including a gold and metals, global emerging market equity commodity and an agricultural land fund.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Meera Patel says the global emerging market equ-ity commodity fund is launching in a bubble.

She says: “Why not opt for a global emerging markets fund which will have a 33 per cent exposure to commodities? The product is a specialist in what already is a specialist sector and the same goes for the agricultural land fund.”

Wilson Dean Financial Services managing director Nick Lincoln says the launch of the gold and metals fund is “classic bandwagon” although he says Schroders is within its rights to launch such products as its job is to bring in assets.

He says: “If advisers go into these full pelt, they need their heads examined, given market peaks and troughs.”

Stoakley says the launches are all strong long-term stories rather than a reaction to any market fad, with increasing interest from fund of funds providers and private clients.

He says: “Investors’ insight is pushing away from the need for traditional returns from equities, bonds and property and funds such as agriculture and gold and metals provide that. Few firms are able to offer those sorts of products. It is also important to note that these products are sold globally.

“Agricultural land has a massive story as it accounts for 30 per cent of the world and looks at the growing population and the need to feed it. Meanwhile, our emerging markets commodity offering is a logical extension for those who think demand for commodity is likely to increase.”

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