Funds Hub

Money managers under the microscope

Absolutely Fabulous?

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Among the side-effects of the financial crisis, the importance for European wealth managers and other intermediaries of both managing investors’ expectations and understanding fully what those expectations are, has been underlined.

This is not entirely new. The rise of absolute return products largely reflects intermediaries’ efforts to deal directly with client expectations that, for many, have taken a severe blow. It is worth looking back at the level of inflows to funds seeking absolute returns before and after 2008 (the nadir for the industry in terms of sales activity) to see how this has evolved.

To view the chart, click here.

The data not only show the relative level of in- and out-flows for absolute return funds in Europe since 2005, but serves as a means to illustrate how activity has shifted in Europe.

Up to the middle of 2007, investors in Italy, Switzerland and France were strong supporters of absolute return. However the failure of many of these funds through 2007-2008 sent investors running for the door. The best example of this is enhanced money market funds, primarily bought in France, where 31.6 billion euros of sales in 2005-2006 were followed by redemptions of 39 billion in 2007-2008 and essentially no activity since.

Envy, desire and basis points

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I would like to tell you a story. It’s one about the tempestuous relationship between fund managers and their investors, a tale of envy, desire and basis point negotiations. You may have spotted by now that this is not the plot for this season’s latest blockbuster.

My story has recently gained a little extra spice with two old-fashioned heroes riding into view. One from the West – Omaha - and the other from the East - well, his father hailed from Russia – with both willing to make a little less money in order to help their fellow citizens. Warren Buffett and Stuart Rose are not alone; others in France and Germany are also saddling up. These horsemen seem to be heading in the opposite direction from those in the European funds industry.

Rude health, and a changing of the guard?

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By Detlef Glow, Head of EMEA Research at Lipper. The views expressed are his own.

The European exchange-traded-fund (ETF) industry has shown some resilience in the face of questions about management practices raised by market observers like the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and regulatory bodies like the FSA in the UK.

Risk Management: Did fund managers learn their lesson?

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By Detlef Glow, Head of EMEA Research at Lipper. The views expressed are his own.

In the last decade investors and fund managers faced two major crises in the stock markets, the popping of the technology bubble in 2001 and financial crisis starting in 2006.

A choice between risk and return?

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By Dunny P. Moonesawmy. Head of Fund Research for Lipper in Western Europe/Middle East and Africa. The views expressed are his own.

Hedge funds have delivered decent risk-return results over the past ten years. And as transparency and liquidity increased post-credit crisis, they have regained their appeal as providers of absolute return opportunities for investors. In addition, an increasing lack of market visibility globally has played to hedge funds’ supposed strengths, with total industry assets under management now exceeding the $2 trillion, according to Hedge Fund Research.

Knowing me, knowing you..

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For a fund company expanding out of its home market, a crucial question is whether a distribution strategy that works well locally will also work in other countries. You might call it the Abba Dilemma: Knowing me, knowing you?

The Swedish popsters’ 1977 hit single went on to suggest “there is nothing we can do”, but new research from Lipper hopes to shed some light on this issue.

KIIDs can help bridge the trust gap: Lipper

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By Merieme Boutayeb. Research Analyst at Lipper. The views expressed are her own.

The European fund industry is getting a second chance this week to improve the way it communicates with investors when selling its products. While the first effort became mired in legalese and complexity, the Key Investor Information Document, or KIID, should offer a golden opportunity to recoup some more of the trust lost during and after the financial crisis. Firms would do well to look past their misgivings and not waste it.

Are marathon runners trying to sprint?

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“The long is short. Investment choice, like other life choices, is being re-tuned to a shorter wave-length.” So stated Andy Haldane of the Bank of England in a speech last month.

If one of the key features of a mutual fund is that it is a long-term investment, then concerns that money is being managed over decreasing time horizons should be treated seriously.

Hedge funds vs mutual funds

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By Dunny P. Moonesawmy, Head of Fund Research for Lipper in western Europe, Middle East and Africa. The views expressed are his own.

Hedge funds took some heat from the credit crisis as liquidity and transparency became critical factors in investment decision-making. It’s fair to say hedge funds continued to deliver decent returns to investors, but how do they compare to mutual funds if we focus on performance and risk alone?

Arab spring dents MENA funds

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By Merieme Boutayeb, Research Analyst at Lipper. The views expressed are her own.

The first half of 2011 has been a tough ride for investors. Disaster in Japan and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis have sent markets reeling, but perhaps the most telling long-term impact will come from the so-called Arab spring.

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