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Use of in-house funds in model portfolios varies

Periods of the sort of market turmoil we all experienced in 2022 tend to speed up consolidation in this or any industry. 

One wonders if this could mean that more asset managers become DFMs, or vice versa. 

Certainly over the past two years M&G and LGIM have joined the DFM party while Schroders recently launched its Schroder Investment Solutions arm (even though it had been in the DFM game for a while through Cazenove).

With that in mind, we have had a peek at the DFMs in the market who are also asset managers to see which ones have the greatest exposure to their own fund range.

As the chart below shows, LGIM deploys 88 per cent of its capital into its vast collection of active, passive and blended strategies, while with Invesco the comparable figure is 19.8 per cent.

LGIM's number should probably be seen in the context of many of its allocations being to its huge range of in-house passive funds, where only tracking error and cost are differentiators, which is different to allocating to in-house active funds where performance against peer groups can be starkly different.

LGIM has also made a big play of being cheap as chips, and using your own in-house passive funds is certainly one way of achieving that. 

We included Atomos and Investec because, while they are now separate companies from the fund houses with which they were once associated (Sanlam and Ninety One respectively), we were curious to see if there remained a link - though Investec has long made a point of adopting a whole of market approach.

But LGIM is certainly not alone in making the most of the parts of the value chain which it owns.

M&G and Schroders are now well ensconced in the world of vertical integration, owning platforms, advice businesses, fund arms and DFM offerings. 

These companies deploy 17.75 per cent and 9.81 per cent of the capital from their balanced portfolios into their own fund ranges respectively.

In defence of both companies, their fund selections on this front are not particularly shocking.

For example M&G deploys 9.75 per cent into its own emerging markets bond fund, which is the single most popular emerging markets bond fund in our database.

Meanwhile Schroders has more than 4 per cent invested in the Schroder Global Sustainable Value Equity fund - a fund with a growing following, with several other DFMs buying into it this year.

At the other end of the range, Abrdn has just 1.23 per cent of its capital deployed into in-house funds. That can be seen in the light of the firm finally disposing of its stake in the troubled Gars fund in 2022.

Margin compression is always going to lead to consolidation and to firms wanting to own multiple parts of the value chain.

For the allocator in the street, the chance to do it differently may become a USP in the coming years.  

But using your own fund range is certainly a way of putting pressure on the price of your portfolios so, as the battle over costs continues, it will be interesting to see if any of these in-house holdings creep up.

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