Money managers under the microscope
One way of measuring this is to look at the assets invested in index tracking funds (where minimising costs is a core part of the product) and compare this to funds of funds (where the importance of professional fund manager selection entails an additional cost).
With 30.5 billion pounds invested in the former and 56.6 billion pounds in the latter as of November 30 2011, it would seem that retail investors in the UK are almost twice as likely to pay more for active management and fund selection than to minimise costs and seek to mimic the returns of an index. A similar picture is revealed for sales activity in 2011.
Having been researching this subject since 1999, I continue to believe that transparency and awareness of the ‘drag’ of charges on returns are crucial for long-term investors. Of course cost awareness cannot guarantee investors’ happiness and neither will greater transparency inevitably lead to greater competition. But both are powerful selling points for the mutual funds industry.
Other comments on the current debate:
· Fiduciary responsibility. This concept is acknowledged in the UK – to act in the best interests of investors – but it has not been extended to the oversight of fees. This surely needs further consideration.
from Jeremy Gaunt:
Depending on how you look at it, August may not have been as bad a month for stocks as advertised. For the month as a whole, the MSCI all-country world stock index lost more than 7.5 percent. This was the worst performance since May last year, and the worst August since 1998.
But if you had bought in at the low on August 9, you would have gained healthy 8.5 percent or so.
By Jim Saft
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., March 10 (Reuters) – Patience, particularly in investing, is one of those virtues everyone praises but for which no one seems willing to pay.
from Reuters Investigates:
If the life settlements market seems ghoulish, here’s a British scandal which isn’t doing the image of the business any favours. It’s one of the worst the country’s seen.
Around 30,000 mainly elderly investors in the UK put their money into a company called Keydata, hoping to make a little extra cash to fund their own retirement with the promise of a healthy return.
The vexing question of how much to tell retail investors about what exactly they are buying has been exercising industry participants at the Reuters European Funds Summit. Although the sentiment is for more transparency and simplicity, as exemplified by the EU’s new two page marketing document, some managers feel this won’t fully reflect the risks and processes involved in a product.
The Key Investor Information Document (KIID), to be rolled out under UCITS IV, will replace the little loved ”simplified” prospectus as the primary document via which fund promoters communicate with prospective clients – something that makes some managers very uneasy.
Citigroup's agreement to sell Phibro, its profitable but controversial commodity trading business, to Occidental Petroleum today puts the finishing touches on a slow erosion of a once-dominant bond trading and investment banking firm.
When Sandy Weill (pictured left) staged his 1998 coup -- combining Citicorp and Travelers, Salomon Brothers was a strong albeit humbled investment banking and trading force. Yet little by little, a succession of financial crises, Wall Street fashion and regulatory intervention has whittled away at the once-dominant firm.
from Summit Notebook:
By Neil Chatterjee
The U.S. has promised it will hunt down tax evaders.
And it seems tax evaders are on the run.
DBS bank, based in the growing offshore financial centre of
Singapore, told Reuters it had been approached by U.S. citizens
asking for its private banking services. But when told they would
have to sign U.S. tax declaration forms, the potential clients
Swiss banks also approached DBS on the hope they could
offload troublesome U.S. clients to a location that so far has
not been reached by the strong arms of Washington or Brussels.
DBS said no thanks. In fact many private banks and boutique
advisors now seem to be avoiding U.S. clients.
Will this spread to other nationalities, as governments
invest in tax spies and tax havens invest in white paint?
Is this the end of offshore private private banking?