After months, if not years of rumour, L&G has finally acquired the Cofunds platform. The insurance company was one of six shareholders that first came together to challenge Fidelity in the supermarket world more than 12 years ago. Since then, Cofunds has grown to assets of more than £50bn and is the leading platform in the market by AUA. It grew and became part of the established platform industry, losing its newcomer, cutting-edge status in the process. Which may well be why the other five stakeholders were willing to sell to L&G — that and the fact that running a platform business is very expensive.
For L&G the move makes sense. It' was one of the last insurance companies to make its move in the fund distribution arena. For Cofunds, it makes sense too or at least it does on paper. Having six shareholders was pulling Cofunds in different directions and while the six had been 'passionate' supporters in the early days and served their purpose well, the structure was less easy to manage with a fully fledged, grown-up platform.
But what does it really mean for Cofunds? Both L&G and Cofunds have been quick to point out that it's BAU (business as usual) for Cofunds and there are no changes on the horizon. Umbrellas won't suddenly appear in the Cofunds logo, etc. But there will be some change. There always is, even if it's internal stuff such as getting budgets approved or having to fit in with a new reporting structure. More important is how the change in ownership is viewed by Cofunds' army of advisers and other strategic partners. One or two might jump ship because of the L&G (the few who like to troll on Citywire), but I suspect that the vast majority will simply shrug it off and move on. BAU.
Fundscape has just published its 60 second review for platforms — easily digestible information for the busy executive. Click here to download.
Following a review of our activities, we are carrying out a reorganisation. This means that the Pridham Report and the Pridham Database will be transferred to Pridham & Pridham, while the Platform Report, the Distribution Report and other activities will remain under the Fundscape umbrella.
In practical terms this will make no difference to the services you will receive from us — we will continue to provide you with unrivalled, independent fund and distribution research. We will continue to work closely together and look forward to forging even more productive relationships with our subscribers in future.
As a result of the reorganisation, it would be helpful if all future queries about Pridham products are directed to Helen Pridham on 020 8886 2721, or Helen@pridhamreport.co.uk, while all other queries should go to Bella Caridade-Ferreira on 020 7627 1145 or Bella@fundscape.co.uk. Data will be collected in the same way as before and there will be no change. Confidentiality agreements will also remain unchanged. In relation to the Pridham Report, you will be asked to confirm that the mutual confidentiality agreement applies to Pridham & Pridham on the same terms as it did to Fundscape.
On a final note, Fundscape and Pridham & Pridham will continue to offer bespoke consultancy for the asset management industry. If you need an unbeatable independent assessment of where your business stands, what its prospects are for the future and how they can be improved, we are the right team for you.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries.
As we're an environmentally friendly bunch at Fundscape, we've decided to send you our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year electronically – click here.
Fundscape's Q3 Distribution Report has just been published. Overall, it was a difficult third quarter for fund distribution. Gross sales totalled £22.1bn and were down 5% on the previous quarter and also on the same period in 2011. but highlighting the lack of sticky business was the fact that net sales fell 41% to £2bn. The press release is available here.
The third quarter of 2012 served up mixed fortunes for the fund industry. Poor investor sentiment in the early summer contributed to lower sales and led to a dismal August with the lowest net retail sales since October 2008. Flows improved in September on the back of rising stock markets but fund managers report an increasingly distracted adviser community as the RDR deadline approaches. To read the rest of this press release, click here.