Ask Sindie: How can I find who's king of the investment funds?

One reader seeks performance data ... another has problems with the Nationwide
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The Independent Online

For some time, I have been trying to get an answer to what I thought was a fairly straightforward question - but all to no avail. As a result, I am beginning to think that the information is deliberately kept under wraps.

I want to know the rating performance, going back over one to 10 years, of all the funds investing in the stock market and corporate bonds - in other words, a sort of league table.

I had hoped these details would be available in some sort of publication, but no luck.

Every organisation I ask, including my public library, seems keen to point me in other directions and deliberately ducks a direct answer. Can you tell me where I'm going wrong?

PG, Lindfield, West Sussex

When I read your letter, I wasn't sure exactly what you were after - perhaps ratings for the individual bonds held inside the funds, which might have been hard to compile. But after phoning you, I discovered you just wanted some fairly standard performance data for corporate bond funds in general.

Up-to-date information is clearly set out on the Trustnet website, with data going back over one, three and five years. If you don't have internet access, your local library will have computers for public use.

The web addresses of the relevant tables are very long and complicated, so I have converted them to "Tiny URLs" - a system that allows you access to long addresses by entering just a few characters. Just type these shortcuts into the internet address bar and they will take you to the right page, so you can print out the tables you require.

Funds in the Investment Managers Association UK corporate bond sector can be found at http://tinyurl. com/2zgr7u. The funds in the Trustnet fixed-interest sector can be found at http://tinyurl.com/277qh9.

You can also find tables of fund performance at http://www.citywire.co.uk/Funds/Home.aspx, where you use drop-down menus to choose the type of fund and the period of comparison that you want to view.

When comparing funds, though, do remember that past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. This caveat will be of even more significance when comparing funds where the individual managers may have changed over the years.

*****

I recently gave written instruction via a Nationwide building society branch near Birmingham to transfer the cash from my matured fixed-rate bond into my FlexAccount current account.

Having deposited it there, I intended to transfer it immediately to my high-interest e-Savings account. But my instructions were ignored and instead the money was paid into a Capital Builder savings account, which pays a much lower rate of interest than e-Savings.

Only money in a Flex-Account can be transferred to e-Savings, so the cash had to go there first. It was not until I checked two days later that I realised this hadn't happened.

I mentioned the problem to the Sutton Coldfield branch, and only then was the switch to my FlexAccount carried out.

As a result of Nationwide's failure to follow my instructions at the start, I have suffered a loss of interest.

Can you do something to restore my faith in the building society?

ZE, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

Nationwide says the failure to follow your instructions immediately was due to a "technology fault" that has now been resolved.

This meant the transfer to your FlexAccount did not take place and, as a default option, the money went into the Capital Builder.

The society's member service department has reviewed the case and found that the difference between three days' interest on your investment in a Capital Builder and in an e-Savings account is 68p. This has now been refunded.

Nationwide offered to pay you £25 by way of an apology. Unfortunately, it also messed up that transaction, and you had to write another two letters to get the money credited to your account. But I understand the cash is now yours.

If you need help from our consumer champion, write to Annie Shaw at The Independent on Sunday, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or email sindie@independent.co.uk. We cannot return documents, give personal replies or guarantee to answer letters. We accept no legal responsibility for advice given.

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