Personal finance: Fund managers pep up their websites

internet investor

The new year has begun with a serious attempt to offer online dealing facilities for unit trusts and personal equity plans (PEPs). Fidelity Investments' Fidelity WebXpress website now offers the ability to switch between unit trusts or PEP investments. Later this month investors will be able to buy more units or top up their PEP by entering Switch or Delta debit card details on to an online form.

The site also allows you to analyse your holdings by creating portfolios to your own specification. This includes the ability to produce graphs showing assets by fund, by asset class and by geographical or industry breakdown. Other tools available include a currency conversion table, a glossary and help screens, and the site has links to Fidelity's main website and fund pricing pages. These are updated on a daily basis with current net asset values and market news. More detailed fund performance information is also available.

Fidelity's new UK service is being offered initially to existing Fidelity customers. But, by the middle of the year, it expects to be welcoming new customers online as well, opening accounts and buying and selling without the need for signatures.

The introduction of Fidelity WebXpress marks a significant step forward in what is available on the Web. Both netPEP's tracker fund unit trust and PEP and Sanwa Investment Management's five unit trusts require a signature sent by post.

Merchant bank Flemings offers a range of Luxemburg-based offshore funds and investors may deal online through the Flemings Rapide dealing service. However, it does not yet offer its UK unit trusts on the web.

- Robin Amlot

Fidelity Investments: www.fidelity.co.uk

Fidelity WebXpress: www.webxpress.fidelity.co.uk

netPEP: www.netpep.co.uk

Sanwa: www.sanwa.iii.co.uk

Flemings: www.flemings.lu

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