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There’s nothing silly about summer 2007

Between the RDR and the proposed merger of Friends Provident and Resolution it seems the summer silly season has been cancelled with no traditional rest for the wicked- advisers, providers, regulators and journalists alike.

For a while this week seemed to be a quiet one from an investment perspective, but low and behold it picked up in some style.

First of all, SWIP announced the loss of UK opportunities manager David Urch, who is to leave the firm after working a notice period to ensure a smooth transition.

Urch is passing the torch on both his UK opportunities and £734m Scottish Widows UK select growth fund to Peter Cockburn, who can lay claim to being one of the busiest fund manager’s going as he also has responsibility for the £2.34bn Scottish Widows UK growth and £54m SWIP UK advantage portfolios.

SWIP will pull out the old “team based approach” line with the firm also indicating that will look to bring in an external hire to shoulder some of the workload bestowed upon Cockburn in the long term. However, replacing Urch, who is also investment director UK equities, will be no mean feat as he has produced top quartile performance on both his vehicles over a three year period.

Meanwhile RAB Capital has made its first move into the UK retail market by joining the absolute return party in announcing the launch of three new vehicles (European dynamic, UK dynamic and UK equity income).

RAB has experience in the arena, having run some 14 institutional absolute return vehicles since the company was founded Philip Richards and Michael Alen-Buckley in 1999.

However, with hedge funds still under the microscope, what will capture most people’s attention is the fact that each fund is targeting a 15 per cent annualised return.

BestInvest head of communications Justin Modray says RAB has made a pretty bold statement considering the volatility in the markets.

He says: “To say it is ambitious is putting it mildly. RAB is a well-known investment house that has capital behind it. But to announce aims for a 15 per cent annualised return is a lofty goal that could leave them with egg on their face.”

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