ima delays managed sector proposals to year end at earliest

Since its initial proposals back in May went down like a lead balloon, the IMA has been all quiet on the Managed sector front.

ima delays managed sector proposals to year end at earliest


The IMA has been publicly quiet on the topic for some time now, with no formal announcements made since the initial proposals on 26 May, but it has said separately that consultation on the subject is now closed.

Meanwhile, members received a circular on 26 September, which said simply: "The IMA would like to thank those members who commented on the proposals for the Managed sectors set out in circular 201-11.

"The responses have been evaluated and further work is taking place. The IMA would, therefore, like to confirm that no changes will now take place until the end of the year. Members will be given time to consider any new proposals."

The Association came under considerable fire after it initially proposed renaming the Managed Sectors Managed A, Managed B and Managed C, with a new Managed D sector added to the group.

These names would replace the Active Managed, Balanced Managed and Cautious Managed titles currently in use, while the Managed D sector would sit below the existing Cautious Managed sector on the risk spectrum.

Skandia said it conducted a recent survey which showed 84% of advisers did not think the relabeling from Aggressive, Balanced and Cautious to A, B and C would help consumers understand of the level of risk they are taking.

It is this skepticism, reported industry-wide, that has led the IMA back to the drawing board.

Timetable for change

Last week the association said it was reviewing all the different opinions that had been pitched during the consultation period, which ran from May until fairly recently.

When the announcement was first made in May, the new Managed sector names were supposed to apply from 1 July, with funds expected to make any necessary changes to their own name as soon as practicable and definitely before 31 December 2011.

It now seems unlikely that any renaming will take place before the first quarter of next year.

Clare Murphy-McGreevy, media relations manager, said: "We are hoping to be able to announce the proposals before the end of the year, but it’s maybe more likely to be early 2012. There were a lot of suggestions that came in from various members."

Some members, such as Fidelity, have made their feelings about the alphabetised classifications well-known.

Fidelity said these sector differentiations were meaningless and would increase the opacity for investors.

It added that an approach similar to the ABI’s where classifications demonstrated the equity weightings of funds would be preferable. 

Skandia said: "One solution would be to create a single sector reserved for ‘risk-targeted’ funds – there are a number of these already and more are likely to be launched.

"Legacy ‘Managed’ funds could then all be contained in an alternative sector where returns are the driver. In other words, one sector places the emphasis on managing risk, while the other is returns driven. In both cases relative performance could be assessed around realised volatility and associated risk-adjusted returns."

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