Funds Watch and product launches


News from SEI, American Century, Heartwood, Hermes BPK, IMA, Morningstar, Fundsmith, Bramdean AM, SYZ AM and Lipper

Morningstar adds functionality to Morningstar Direct

Independent investment research provider Morningstar has added asset allocation optimisation functionality to Morningstar Direct, its web-based global investment analysis platform for institutional investors.

The new functionality facilitates the creation of optimal asset allocation strategies that can take into account "fat-tailed" return distributions and downside risk measures. It is based on extensive research from Morningstar and its European quantitative research director, Dr Paul Kaplan.

Separately, the company announced that it has changed the name of Logical Information Machines (LIM) to Morningstar Commodity Data and rebranded its products under the Morningstar name.

Morningstar acquired LIM in December 2009, adding energy, oil, gas, and commodities data and analytics to the company's line-up of global investment information offerings.

Fundsmith launches first Ucits IV Luxembourg fund

Fundsmith has launched a regulated Sicav feeder fund in Luxembourg which it said made it the first UK fund management company to use the recent Ucits IV legislation allowing such funds.

The Fundsmith equity fund feeder provides investors who prefer to invest offshore or through a Sicav, access to the Fundsmith equity fund whilst keeping the costs of running funds at a minimum as Fundsmith can manage a single pool of assets. 

The Fundsmith equity fund was launched in November 2010 by Terry Smith, the company's CEO. Since launch one year ago, the fund has outperformed by 10.4% delivering a return of 12.1% versus the MSCI World's 1.7% return.

The fund  is Smith's main vehicle for his own investments and offers investors the opportunity to invest alongside him in a concentrated portfolio of 20-30 resilient global growth companies which are held for the long term. The portfolio has no benchmark or sector constraints. The Fund charges a flat 1% Annual Management Charge (AMC) if bought direct plus minimal trading costs due to Fundsmith's long term buy and hold investment strategy.

Bramdean AM to launch online funds supermarket

Bramdean Asset Management will launch an online funds supermarket web service entitled in the middle of 2012.

The service will target the retail market and allow investors to buy investment funds via the site with or without an ISA wrapper. The site will have a high level of content, with contributions from investment professionals and journalists, which will be a major differentiating factor from other similar sites.

SYZ launches alternatives platform with UBS

SYZ Asset Management, the institutional asset management arm of the Swiss private banking group SYZ & Co, has partnered with UBS to launch a managed accounts platform for its alternative management offering.

The platform is available in addition to its existing tailored alternative mandates and funds of hedge funds, and is aimed mainly at the institutional market. UBS Investment Bank will operate the platform.

As part of this cooperation, SYZ Asset Management will propose and select managers to be included on the platform. It will manage investment mandates, as well as other investment vehicles, whose assets will be placed on the platform.;

French investors pile out of money market funds

French investors redeemed €15.3bn from money market funds in September, a significant chunk of the €52.9bn total outflows from European money market funds, according to a report from Lipper.

This represents the worst redemptions from European money market funds in any month since October 2008.

Equity and bond funds were also badly hit, with redemptions of €21.2bn and €17.4bn respectively. Absolute return funds suffered €2.2bn of redemptions although those investing in mixed assets saw modest inflows (€180m).

The only area in fixed income to have prevailed is US dollar and sterling denominated corporate bonds which attracted €840m and €500m respectively.

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