Gatekeepers Tag

Hargreaves Lansdown published its interim results on Friday. Chris Hill, CEO, stated that the platform will be introducing changes to its research process with the aim of providing more detail and greater transparency. There will also be new functionality for customers who want a deeper, more autonomous dive into fund research.

The first day of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar Near Year, fell at the weekend on Saturday 25 January. It also heralded the start of the year of the Rat, the first in the 12-strong Chinese zodiac.

It feels like I've been writing US-China trade wars and Brexit in investment commentaries since the Flood. Potential new investors have been spectating for months, waiting for resolution of these issues, particularly given 2018's annus horribilis where cash was king (if a less-than-generous one).

Now that Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister, the possibility of crashing out of the EU on 31st October looms large on the horizon. It would be no surprise, therefore, if advisers and investors turned to so-called safe havens like property.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry has had a pop at Neil (yes, the villain has a first name) Woodford over the last few days. Countless rent-a-mouths have queued up to drizzle us with their schadenfreude (most know nothing about funds). But while they like to claim they saw it coming, they conveniently forgot to warn the rest of us. 

Over the last decade, a key feature of the retail investment landscape has been the industry’s development of risk-grading as a response to the suitability issue. How do advisers and their clients best ensure that the portfolio selected for them is most likely to produce the capital appreciation and income provision they expect, with the fewest surprises?  In other words, what is the risk that they don’t achieve their goals?  That risk has been distilled down to a single figure on a risk-scale derived from a portfolio’s expected standard deviation of returns, also known as volatility.

Gatekeepers tend to select single-strategy funds as building blocks in broader portfolios, so the presence of multi-asset funds on gatekeeper lists is usually to cater for one-stop shoppers on D2C platforms, for ISAs for example, or to satisfy the needs of smaller investments through advisers where they may be aimed (unfairly) at so-called less-sophisticated investors.

The FCA’s interim platform report has already been well and truly thrashed out by trade journals and other research houses. However, we believe that our tools and research are ideal for proactively engaging with the regulator’s long-term objectives and have reviewed the interim report on that basis. But first let’s start with the basics: why, who and what.

We compared Gatekeepers in 2017 to 2016 to look for any emerging trends or changing preferences. But it's safe to say that 2017 can be characterised as a year when Gatekeepers continued to stick with big-name funds, despite their non-appearance as top performers. Meanwhile lesser-known funds outperformed, but were unable to get on fund selectors' radars or if they had been noticed, get fund selectors to up their exposure.