Horlick unit trust takes off slowly

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The Independent Online
NICOLA HORLICK, the City fund manager nicknamed "superwoman", has disappointed the City with her newly launched unit trust despite massive publicity and an expensive advertising campaign.

The mother-of-five, who shot to prominence in January 1997 when she was suspended as managing director of Morgan Grenfell's pension funds, has raised less than pounds 10m since her new employer, Societe Generale, launched a UK Growth fund.

The money invested is a fifth of the normal level of subscriptions to an investment fund with the same objectives, which are normally expected to raise upwards of pounds 50m.

The figures will cast doubt on targets set by Societe Generale when it launched its UK asset management division six weeks ago. In a fanfare of publicity, the company said it aimed to manage pounds 5bn within five years. The company is estimated to have spent pounds 500,000 on advertising.

But John Irons, head of retail at SocGen, said he was "delighted" with the result, which he said came in difficult market conditions. Stephen Lansdown, joint managing director of Hargreaves Lansdown, the investment adviser, said: "The Nicola Horlick story is not an investment story .... But her fund is not exciting enough to capture the imagination."

The pounds 10m subscription is in marked contrast to the pounds 100m raised by a fund run by Jayesh Manek, a high street pharmacist who was employed by Sir John Templeton after winning a fantasy fund manager competition.