Multi-assetMay 2 2013

Product review: Stirling House suite of funds

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ByGeordie Clarke

Wealth manager Stirling House is taking its in-house investment management offering to the wider IFA market with a range of five funds.

Created with the needs of financial advisers and sophisticated investors in mind, the funds will be managed by Sarasin & Partners, while Host Capital is the authorised corporate director.

Each of the HC Stirling House funds – defensive, balanced, growth, dynamic and adventurous – will suit a different risk appetite, ranging from low risk to high risk. They are authorised by the FCA as non-Ucits retail scheme funds.

The vehicles will be available to all IFAs and will be accessible either direct or through platforms and tax wrappers. The first four funds are already available, while the HC Stirling House Adventurous fund will come to market later in the year.

Minimum investment is £5,000. The annual management charge is 0.7 per cent, clean of all rebates and platform charges.

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It seems the industry has been flooded by fund launches from wealth management companies keen to bring their investment ideas to the wider market.

Under RDR regulations and guidance from the City watchdog warning advisers against shoehorning clients into centralised investment propositions, advisers are under pressure to make sure the investments they recommend are suitable.

Stirling says the funds are designed to meet the needs of today’s sophisticated investors. For the most part, they will be used by the firm’s network of advisers as a way to simplify the fund-selection process, but they are also available to the whole of the market either direct or through platforms.

Structured as multi-manager vehicles, the Stirling House funds take a multi-asset investment approach and hold a range of equities, fixed income, cash and alternatives in varying quantities to meet specific attitudes to risk.

Multi-asset funds have become increasingly popular in the past few years because they build on the one-stop-shop solution that underpins funds of funds by adding in such assets as property, infrastructure, commodities and other alternatives like hedge funds and private equity.

In the case of the Stirling funds, however, the multi-asset approach is most likely more conservative than other investment managers, which could be viewed as a negative for some. For example, the HC Stirling House Balanced fund holds 45.5 per cent equities, 49 per cent bonds, 5 per cent alternatives and 0.5 per cent cash. Meanwhile, private client manager Heartwood Wealth’s CF Heartwood Balanced Multi Asset fund holds 62 per cent equities, 20 per cent bonds, 8 per cent property, 6 per cent cash and 4 per cent hedge funds.