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:
Fundscape and the Pridham Report have jointly published the Definitive Guide to the UK Fund Industry 2015, covering all aspects from fund manufacture to distribution.
Despite predictions to the contrary, two years after the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) was introduced, the UK’s fund industry is flourishing. It is now the largest domestic market in the Europe with assets of £753bn, and is larger than the domestic fund markets of Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy.
Further expansion is predicted. Low interest rates, the rising number of baby boomers and the pension freedom that comes into force in April will help to fuel growth. Five-year projections with pessimistic, realistic and optimistic scenarios have been produced in the guide. Bella Caridade-Ferreira, CEO of Fundscape said “UK fund industry assets will skyrocket on the back of this unique combination of factors. Our realistic scenario sees assets rise to £1,449bn by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 12.8%. In the optimistic scenario, 2019 assets could be in the region of £1,773n. Or even higher.”
You’re probably wondering where we’ve been these past few months, and have been bemoaning the lack of insightful posts and general industry chitchat. The summer is always a busy time for us, but as well as our usual publications and quarterly workload, we’ve had our noses to the grindstone producing a large study on behalf of Alfi, the Association of Luxembourg Fund Industry.
This is the first time week that we’ve actually been able to come up for air. The report is done and dusted, it has been sent off to the printers and I’m finalising the presentation for the Alfi conference next week when the report will be launched. Details of the conference on 23rd and 24th September can be found at www.alfi.lu. However, you don’t have to attend to get hold of the report. On the day of the launch, it will be uploaded to the website and will be freely available to download (we’ll post a link on here to make it easier for you to find).
I spoke at Fund Forum in Monaco two weeks ago, and having spent last week catching up, I was looking forward to writing a more detailed review of my presentation and the report on which it was based today. However, my plans were thwarted by an FT article that — at best — took some lines out of context and at worst, inaccurately reported parts of the report. How they got their hands on the report is also questionable since it wasn't circulated to the press and the FT didn’t buy it.