Fund launches in Europe drop to five-year low, Lipper finds

The number of launches in the European mutual funds industry dropped to its lowest level in five years during 2011, research by Lipper shows, while the total number of products for sale fell.

According to the Lipper Fund Market Insight Market Report,  2,749 funds were launched in Europe last year. This is down from 3,311 launches in 2010 and significantly under the 4,339 products launched in 2007.

Last year saw also 2,028 funds close and 1,443 merge – resulting in a net decline of 722 funds in the European universe.

“The year 2011 was a period of focus on consolidation of the available fund ranges offered by fund houses in response to EU-passport policies,” according to the Lipper’s report.

“In addition, the Ucits IV regulation – with, for example, requirements to set up KIIDs [key investor information documents] for all products to replace existing simplified sales prospectuses and the demand to distinguish real money market products from products with a similar targeted performance but different underlying securities – led to huge administrative efforts for all fund management companies.”

At the end of December, there were 31,690 mutual funds registered for sale in Europe. Equity funds were the most common, making up 38% of the total and accounting for 835 of the year’s launches.

Some 668 mixed-asset funds, the second most-common class, were launched over the year as well as 512 bond funds.