Fund groups change performance reports after criticism

Fund groups change performance reports after criticism

Premier Asset Management and Henderson Global Investors have both tweaked the way they report on the performance of their funds, after one of their rivals was criticised for its a lack of transparency.

The changes follow a spat between fund house Schroders and research provider Numis' analyst David McCann, who criticised the fund group’s performance figures, calling them “disingenuous”.

When measuring its performance, Schroders only used 74 per cent of the group’s total assets for the three-year period, and 63 per cent for the five-year period.

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But Mr McCann later apologised to the FTSE 100 fund manager for the “personalised aspect of the report”, saying the note only intended to show the difficulties in interpreting performance figures across the industry.

Henderson and Premier were not criticised by Numis.

However Henderson has confirmed that it added footnotes to its latest set of results, making it clear that the outperformance relates to 99 per cent of the firm’s total assets after fees.

The company declined to comment on the change.

Premier has also altered the way it reports on its overall performance by making it clear that 95 per cent of its total assets performed above average over a three-year period. 

A spokeswoman for Premier said: “Further to the Numis report, we now state how much of [the total assets] are included alongside the description of what is excluded, and note what share class is used. All performance is shown after fund charges.”

Back in March, Schroders had responded to the criticism from Numis by saying it was transparent and open about how it calculates investment performance, adding the process for calculating the performance was in line with general industry practice.

This comes amid mounting pressure on the asset management industry to be more transparent on fees.

Last year, the Financial Conduct Authority published a scathing report into the active management industry, saying there was weak price competition compared to their passive peers.

Patrick Connolly, certified financial planner at Chase de Vere Independent Financial Advisers, said: "It is a sad reflection of the investment industry that we are still having these conversations.

"All advisers and investors want is transparency and consistency. By now the investment industry should have sorted this out so that people can easily make meaningful comparisons."

But Blair Cann, certified financial planner at M Thurlow & Co, said: "No one in their right mind would rely on an assessment of such performance by the investment house itself; if we wanted to judge the performance of certain Premier or Henderson funds the last people we would ask would be Premier and Henderson."

He said funds should be assessed by independent bodies, such as Trustnet and Morningstar, adding fund managers could possibly spin the figures as best they can to look good.