Last Wednesday 2nd March, at a breakfast briefing hosted by Schroders, we launched the Gatekeepers report to a packed room of senior figures from the fund management industry. We were overwhelmed by the turnout — of the 50 groups that were invited to attend, 48 attended and demand has been such that we're holding a second event on 30th March (if you'd like to be come, let us know).
We’re in an extended lock-down phase until various PLCs have reported their annual results to the stock exchange. The Platform Report should be published in full on or around 18th March 2016. In the meantime, although we can’t give you any detail, we can provide you with some high-level platform numbers to keep you going:
I started the week at a Spanish conference on private banking in Madrid. It was a glorious day in Madrid, spring was definitely in the air and the sun was warm on our backs.
This was not a load of Brits on a good old jolly... the delegates at this event were Spanish and had come from all over Spain for the Banca Privada (Private Banking) conference by IIR Spain. It was an interesting day, but given the questions and the speeches throughout, it was clear that the Spanish still have their heads in the sand about MiFID2 and the implications for fund distribution. Many seemed to think that the fact that implementation had been delayed by a year meant that it might be thrown out altogether... dream on because MiFID2 is here to stay.
The FCA is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. From the time that RDR was announced through its long gestation and even since its implementation, there has never been a shortage of naysayers predicting that it will have a terrible impact on the fund industry.
This week there has been another wave of criticism at recent comments by the FCA’s acting head, Tracy McDermott, that commission could be reintroduced in some circumstances.
She was speaking to Radio 4’s, Money Box progamme and said “We do not want to go back to a world where we had the problems of the pre-RDR, what we do want to look at is actually what is the best way of delivering advice and guidance across the market so I wouldn’t rule out that there may be some element of commission, but we are not going to reverse the RDR.”
As the New Year dawns, there are three obsessions in the UK: resolutions, January sales, and an increasingly popular trend is Dry January — a chance to give our livers a break after the Christmas season. So here's our take on all three.
New Year Resolutions
One of the things that we often berate ourselves about is that we don’t communicate regularly enough, so one of Fundscape’s resolutions is to stay in touch and blog at least once or twice a month. And we may even stretch to weekly blogs if we have anything interesting or exciting to tell you about.
We'd like to wish all our clients, friends and supporters a fabulous Christmas and a new year filled with happiness, peace and prosperity.
We have two greetings videos for you. A quiet and sedate version...
The trend for outsourcing investment has grown sharply in recent years, and with the advent of pension freedom it is only going to get bigger. Model portfolios and robo-advice are currently the talk of the town, but in the background funds of funds have been hoovering up assets.
According to Fundscape’s latest report Deconstructing the UK Funds of Funds World, FOF assets may only represent 12% of the total fund industry AUM (June 2015), but they punched well above their weight with 52% of industry sales in H1 2015. So in short, it pays to be part of this expanding market.
Here are a few snippets from the Q215 data to keep you going until the report comes out in August.
Following demand from other platforms, this quarter we have added Aegon to the platform universe. Aegon does not provide data to Fundscape but releases quarterly results with sufficient information (assets under administration and gross/net flows) to be included on a quarterly basis. We estimate breakdowns, and because its quarterly results come out after our publishing date, we estimate the current quarter and provide actuals for the previous quarter (as we do with Hargreaves Lansdown).
We are looking for a young, bright intern with some personality to boot. You must have an enquiring mind, be focused and able to see projects through to the end. You also need excellent research skills (you leave no stone unturned) and brilliant numeracy skills, which essentially means you need to be a real whizz on Excel and technologically savvy. If pivot tables and macros are your thing (or you think they could be), get in touch. Oh, and it helps if you know a little bit about funds and want to learn more about the investment fund industry with one of the UK's leading fund industry research houses.
Following on from our Q115 platform statistics, this week we're looking at which funds and fund groups were hot on platforms and why. The table below shows the top five fund groups and the top five funds by gross sales for the platform universe* in the first quarter of 2015.
Invesco headed up the table for the second quarter in a row. It has staged a steady recovery since Woodford's departure and has five funds in the top 25 funds. It is renowned for its income expertise, but its IP Global Targeted Returns fund (a rival to Standard Life's popular Global Absolute Returns Strategy) is beginning to turn advisers' heads. Now that GARS has become so big, some advisers will be keen to diversify exposure to GARS, so credible rivals will be considered. With GARS by far and away from its biggest seller, Standard Life should develop and bring on other funds of GARs quality.
How has the platform industry performed in the first quarter of the year? With the UK getting ready for pension freedom and the general election, financial services were under considerable strain. Because of reporting restrictions, our full report will not be published until mid May, but to tide you over until then, we have a few headline numbers to share with you: