Morgan's Latin American fund falls short of target

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The Independent Online
MORGAN Grenfell has raised pounds 64m for its Latin American Companies Trust, well short of the pounds 100m target it set before US interest rates began to rise early last month.

The higher rates have prompted substantial falls in most world stock markets. James Fox, managing director of Morgan Grenfell Trust Managers, said this had damaged investor sentiment, and demand from retail investors was weaker than expected.

All but about pounds 10m of the money raised by the trust came from a placing with institutional investors.

Edinburgh Fund Managers and Templeton are also raising money for Latin American trusts. Peter Arthur, an Edinburgh director, said the launch of Edinburgh Inca, whose offer closed yesterday, had been 'okay'. Edinburgh Inca had already received commitments of pounds 30m but the final total will be announced on Monday.

Alan Nesbit, the fund manager of Morgan Grenfell Latin American Companies Trust, said this week's assassination of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the Mexican presidential candidate, was 'terribly upsetting' but doubted that it would cause any lasting economic damage.

Mr Nesbit said investors had so far had good access to Mexican politicians. 'They don't run around in bullet-proof cars like they do in the rest of the world. I imagine all that will change now.'

Ernesto Zedillo, Mr Colosio's campaign manager and an economist, is regarded as his likely replacement. After initial falls, leading stocks such as Telmex, the telecommunications company, have already begun to recover.

Mr Nesbit said the market falls in Latin America had been remarkably small since the first US interest rate rise, much less than in the emerging Asia-Pacific markets. The Brazilian market is up.

Edinburgh also announced yesterday that it has raised an additional pounds 21.5m for its Small Companies Trust, which was only launched last August. Edinburgh Small Companies previously had net assets of almost pounds 58m.

Piper European Smaller Companies Trust aims to raise up to pounds 30m. Piper International, its manager, is the Edinburgh arm of a US investment company that manages about dollars 12.9bn ( pounds 8.6bn).

The trust will be chaired by Robin Stormonth Darling, former chairman of the stockbrokers Laing & Cruickshank. Its directors also include David Woods, managing director of Scottish Provident, the life insurer.