Chase Fleming recently changed its name to JP Morgan Fleming and decided to ditch its Save & Prosper brand. Do you believe what has been its second rebranding in less than a year will be detrimental to the group?
Attree: Undoubtedly, in the short term, it will have a detrimental effect as investors will have no recognition of the new name. The Save & Prosper brand was well respected by IFAs and their clients.
But we believe this will only be a short-term effect as the new company has already launched a large-scale marketing campaign. In the longer term it will not have a massive effect and more will depend on the risk-adjusted performance of the funds and the retention/recruitment of investment management personnel.
Dalby: I think the move to change brand again will prove positive for the group in the long term. When it changed to Chase Fleming it still had the Save & Prosper and Fleming brands, which proved very confusing for investors and, no doubt, many IFAs.
Consequently, despite yet another name and brand change this one should prove to have a long shelf life and bring everything in the UK under one name.
Merricks: It can't help. I have already had a number of clients enquiring as to what is going on. Mergers are a fact of life in any business at present but one does get a little fed up of being told how much better things are going to be after the reorganisation has taken place. Change = Uncertainty. Uncertainty = Confusion. Confusion + Uncert- ainty = Recommend someone else for the time being until things have settled down. What's the betting that some disaffected director sets up a new company under the banner of Chase & Prosper?
Jupiter and Credit Suisse are entering the multi-manager arena this summer with the launch of a new range of funds of funds. Will the presence of these bigger brand houses increase the likelihood of you recommending multi-manager products?
Attree: No, but they might sell off the page more. Just because bigger investment houses are now offering multi-manager products, we are no more likely to recommend them than before. We are in favour of investors spreading risk by building diversified portfolios and they can easily choose different managers without the need for a fund of funds. Fund supermarkets remove some of the need for funds of funds but that seems to have passed some fund managers by.
Dalby: We are much more likely to recommend multi-manager products in the future although we are lucky enough to have the resource to research the fund marketplace ourselves.
Historically, the reluctance of IFAs to use multi-managers has mainly been related to their higher costs. However, costs have been squeezed and while you will certainly pay a higher annual management charge, it is nowhere near double.
Another reason often cited by IFAs is the fact that picking funds is his or her job. Of course, that is certainly the case but one must remember it is quite likely that a full-time professionally qualified multi-manager investment team can do it as well as most IFAs.
Merricks: Not really, because the very fact that it is a fund of funds makes the brand issue a misnomer. I do not understand why Jupiter or Credit Suisse deciding that they are not the best in all sectors will make me or any other IFAs suddenly reach a conclusion which we have not reached already.
It is strange how the multi-manager approach is gaining popularity at the same time as multi-ties are coming in. How can a multi-tied multi-manager make it easier for the public to understand what they are investing in?
What changes would you most like to see the newly elected Government make to savings and investment policy?
Attree: Keep polarisation. Multi-ties will only create more confusion.
Improve decision trees, and make it clearer that they are not a replacement for face-to-face advice. Many have Dutch elm disease and fail to help reach a simple answer.
Extend the lifetime of Isas. Many long-standing Pep investors had trouble getting Mike Attree,marketing director Torquil Clark
James Dalby, head of research,Bates Investment