Star leaves mark on the fund firmament

When you look at the stars at night you are effectively staring at a huge number of ghosts.

Such are the gigantic distances involved, a star which may have died millions of years ago will still shine brightly as though nothing had ever happened.

An event which was not a million light years ago, indeed just three years in April, was the passing of another “star” as New Star was acquired by Henderson.

New Star’s launch party, which was aptly at London’s Planeterium and hosted by Patrick Moore, came weeks after I started in the industry at the start of 2001.

As a result, I assumed such a grand event was the norm, but it quickly became clear that the power of the brand that founder John Duffield was creating was unique.

New Star was everywhere, from advert billboards in the City to train stations in deepest, darkest parts of the country. (Comment continues below)

Duffield even made his sales and marketing staff make an annual pilgrimage in the New Star minibus to make sure the billboards were placed where they were meant to be.

As financial crises came and went in the eight years of the group’s existence, Duffield did not once pull back on advertising spend, adopting the old adage that if you carry on advertising when everyone stops, it will be your brand everyone remembers.

”Staff made an annual pilgrimage to make sure the billboards were placed where they were meant to be”

Sadly, brand power alone wil not save you if performance dips (just look at what happened to the property funds).

Eventually the success story turned sour and fund flows turned negative, leading to the purchase by Henderson.

Yet, as this week’s cover story by James Smith shows, while the group may be no more, its influence on the industry three years on remains substantial.