A deal of sense in F&C’s name game

In an unusual move, F&C is to rebrand its funds under the name of Thames River, its new subsidiary, taking advantage of the boutique’s strong distribution network, writes Tomas Hirst.

Investors in Thames River products have had to undergo a combination of extremely difficult market conditions combined with the uncertainties thrown up by the merger. The feedback, however, appears so far to be positive.

Mungall at Ignis says: “We like Thames River and have a position in their Global Bond fund. Up to yesterday the fund’s sterling share class was up 7.8% so far this year and I’m happy with that. The benchmark that it is compared to isn’t very helpful as they run it with an absolute return mindset and that’s how I tend to look at it.”

Certainly the group appears to be pleased with the performance of the funds over the recent turmoil.

“Peter Geikie-Cobb and Paul Thursby’s global bond fund has performed well this year, as has our global credit fund,” Warren says.

“On the equity side we have Kristof Bulkai doing our Water & Agriculture, which has done well despite the difficulties. And the new fund of absolute return funds that we launched in January is flat over the year, which is not a bad result, given the market.”

The same is difficult to say of the F&C range. Over three years 22 of the 33 funds with a three-year track record lie in the bottom two quartiles, although these figures improve over one year, with only 14 of 34 funds falling below second quartile.

It is hoped that the merger will give new impetus to F&C to increase its presence in the retail market, not only in terms of distribution but also in terms of performance.

“We have to be very clear about what we’re selling,” says Warren. “We need to tell investors how we expect a fund to perform. Communication is key.”