WMA ditches FTSE as data provider on benchmark indices

Money

The Wealth Management Association has launched a series of five private investor benchmark indices in partnership with MSCI, replacing the FTSE as its sole authorised index data provider.

The MSCI WMA Private Investor Index series launched on 1 March and will represent five investment objectives – conservative, income, growth, balanced and global growth.

As such, users of the new index series must extract any historical FTSE data from their systems and import the new MSCI WMA Private Investor Index Series.

Members and associate members of the WMA at the time of purchase and at the point of annual review will be entitled to a 50 per cent discount on the list fees.

All five will still cover the full range of major asset classes – equities, bonds, real estate, cash and alternatives, but with the exception of the global growth index, all four will now include a broader weighting to fixed income, spanning gilts, corporate and inflation-linked bonds.

The indices are the longest-running private investment, multi-asset index series in the UK, with the balanced, income and growth indices established in 1997, while the conservative and global growth indices launched in 2011.

Further, the WMA is currently undertaking a review of its hedge fund benchmark and has created a working group to review the Custom Alternatives Index.

The Custom Hedge Index, which also went live on Tuesday, will contain 50 per cent cash and 50 per cent MSCI World DMF Index, is being positioned as an interim solution following the winding up of by the largest component of the previous FTSE/WMA Hedge (Investment trust) Index – Bluecrest Allblue last year.

In a Q&A regarding the rationale for changing data provider, the WMA says: “The switch to data provider MSCI is the culmination of a lengthy project initially undertaken by the WMA Private Indices Committee.

“The Committee was looking for flexibility to make regular updates to the indices that would reflect market conditions; therefore ensuring that the indices remain credible, useful and relevant to the wealth management community.

“The new partnership will provide the current suite of indices, ie the balanced, conservative, global growth, growth and income portfolios.

“Further consultation with the WMA membership and Private Investor Indices Working Group will take place on a quarterly basis, to inform the ongoing development and refinement of the traditional indices, in addition to exploring with MSCI options for additional new indices.”