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Expat Investor : July August 2007
July/August 2007 EXPAT INVESTOR 11 INVESTMENT NEWS NEWS UK investors will soon be finding investing in hedge funds much easier thanks to new plans from the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA reports that it is consulting on a proposal which would allow investors to put money directly into funds of hedge funds based in the UK. Private UK investors can already invest in foreign hedge funds, or buy shares in hedge funds management firms that are listed on the London stock market. The FSA believes that these are not necessarily more dangerous than other investments and can help investors spread risk. "What we are proposing is to lift a ban we have at the moment on funds of hedge funds being located or authorised here in the UK," said Dan Waters of the FSA. Under current regulations UK- based hedge funds are not authorised to market themselves to the general public. The FSA said that if its plans go ahead then investors would have the normal safeguards as they do for other investments, with funds being obliged to treat their customers fairly and advisers having to give suitable advice.The funds would also be obliged to hold investors' money independently, and have the underlying assets valued independently. FSA widens hedge fund access The UltimaBond from FPI Fast Facts 66196 Fast Facts 66197 New Star manager retains AAA rating Friends Provident International (FPI) has launched its UltimaBond, a single premium investment bond aimed at UK expatriates within the EEA (European Economic Area). UltimaBond, says FPI, provides access to 54 funds, over 40% of which are euro denominated and include the Baring Eastern Europe and New Star GIF European Growth Funds. "Property remains popular with investors and so UltimaBond offers an increased number of property funds, offering a broad mix of property types, geographical exposure and the potential to access the more under- developed global property market. It also includes lower-risk funds for the more cautious investor. Each fund is expertly managed by leading Asset Managers such as F&C, Morgan Stanley, Invesco, JP Morgan and Investec," confirms an FPI spokesperson. Key benefits of this launch include it being available in three currencies -- sterling, euro and US dollar; a wide range of funds including a variety of lower-risk funds for the more cautious investor; unlimited free switching, 10% penalty free withdrawal allowance per annum; competitive charges, including no bid/offer spread and higher allocation rates up to 102.5% for larger investments; a loyalty bonus -- after five years' continuous investment, with a further one-off loyalty bonus payable on the tenth anniversary of each investment. Sian Warren, international marketing manager, tells Expat Investor,"We have designed the Bond to specifically meet the needs of the UK expat investor in the EEA. UltimaBond improves our European offering with greater focus on European denominated funds and meets the demand for property funds. The new bond forms part of FPI's strategy to increasingly tailor our propositions for our chosen markets and territories." 50 is the latest addition to the iShares family of emerging markets funds, which allow investors to choose from broad based, regional and single country emerging markets ETFs to implement a variety of portfolio strategies. iShares believes ETFs are an easier way of gaining access to the performance of emerging markets securities which are often more operationally difficult and costly than investments in developed markets. Commenting on the launch of the new iShares FTSE BRIC 50, Jennifer Grancio, Head of Distribution iShares Europe, tells Expat Investor, "The emerging markets are an important asset class and the iShares ETFs provide a simple and cost efficient way to access them." Invest in four Brics Barclays Global Investors (BGI), the world'slargest provider of exchange traded funds (ETFs), is offering investors access to four of the world's leading emerging markets via its iShares FTSE BRIC 50, providing exposure to some of the largest companies in Brazil, Russia, India and China. The iShares FTSE BRIC The latest Standard & Poor's review of the Dublin-domiciled New Star European Growth Fund, a sub- fund of New Star's Global Investment Funds PLC, resulted in fund manager Richard Pease maintaining his 'AAA' rating with "ease". S&P said of MrPease, "Richard Pease's style is consistently bottom-up and absolute value oriented, with a long-term horizon. His traditional, qualitative approach rests on his lengthy experience, strong knowledge of the market and in-depth understanding of companies' management... Stock selection was strong across the board. A number of the laggard stocks of 2005 shone in 2006... We remain impressed with Pease... The fund easily retains AAA-rated status." Rob Page, marketing director for New Star tells Expat Investor,"The S&P verdict for the AAA rated fund and its UK-domiciled counterpart also called the New Star European Growth Fund, is further validation of Richard's proven investment style. The strong performance of the fund is testimony to Richard's proven investment philosophy." ALIL revamps website Alliance & Leicester International (ALIL), has re- launched its website and internet banking system. This revamp, says ALIL, will ensure the site continues to offer "the best service to, and access demanded by, today's expatriate community." ALIL's overhaul of its site came about following customer feedback. With ever increasing numbers of prospective customers now relying on the internet as the most effective medium for price comparisons, ALIL confirms that it is keen to make sure its website reflects the needs of consumers. Simon Ripton, Sales & Marketing Manager, tells Expat Investor,"With our customers turning to the internet as a first port of call to research and buy financial services products -- it is imperative we have the best, most interactive 'shop window' in the expatriate marketplace. The new website is central to our e-business strategy aimed at providing a more effective on-line capability for our savings customers." Key features the new site offers include an improved, more intuitive navigation style, allowing visitors easier access to information about products; increased product comparison functionality; improved facility to browse, with more white space, less text and less need to scroll. The site continues to allow prospective and existing customers to keep up-to-date with interest rates and to find out more about ALIL and the products and services it offers. Mr Ripton comments, "With such a large percentage of our customer base in far-off places, the shift online and adoption of technology by expatriates to bank 'anytime, anyplace' is inevitable. We are confident the new site will prove popular, both with local customers and especially with those expats in different time zones to ourselves." www.alliance-leicester.co.im frequently than in the preceding ten years. Interest rates have been lower and fluctuated within a narrower range during the past decade compared with the previous ten years. Inflation has also been lower and less volatile in the past ten years compared with the previous decade. The MPC leaves rates unchanged in seven out of ten meetings. Seven of the 34 -- more than one in five -- rate changes occurred in 2001. The majority of rate changes have been in Inflation Report months. Voting has been unanimous at almost one in two MPC meetings. External members are more likely than Bank members to vote for a rate change. Martin Ellis, chief economist, comments, "The past decade has been a period of remarkable economic stability. "Interest rates and inflation have both been lower and varied in a much narrower range since the MPC took over responsibility for setting interest rates than in the previous 10 years." The Bank of England has celebrated the 10th anniversary of its being granted operational responsibility for setting and controlling interest rates. The MPC met for the first time on 6 June 1997 when it raised rates from 6.25% to 6.5%. Halifax has analysed the behaviour of interest rates and inflation over the past ten years and examined the voting patterns and the stances of both internal and external members of the Committee. Its key findings include: Interest rates have changed less The MPC's 10th anniversary Fast Facts 66195