Personal Finance: Internet Investor

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The Independent Online
IT IS unfortunate that the launch period of Framlington's NetNet fund coincided with even greater volatility than usual among Internet- related shares. It will have been even more unsettling for anybody who has put money into the fund and who has been trying to keep track of its performance on the website.

The fund was launched on 19 April and its launch offer period finished on 7 May. However, since the launch of the fund the website has only been updated to display the daily bid/offer price of the units and has contained no information about the fund's holdings as had been promised.

I took this up with Framlington and was told: "We hope to have the site fully functional within the next few weeks. Prices will be updated on a daily basis and performance on a monthly basis." Two weeks later, mid- month, the response I got was that since the end of the launch offer period the fund manager has been buying shares for the portfolio and that the website "will begin publishing this detail by the end of next week".

Given that the site contains pages which are supposedly devoted to outlining the timings and quantities of investment purchases and disposals, this seems more than a little tardy. The fund aims to have around 30 per cent of the portfolio invested in `pure' Internet stocks, and a basket of some 70 stocks in all.

Furthermore, since a price has been quoted now for two months it seems a little strange not to display the one-month performance data in the box on the webpage devoted to the fund's price performance.

It would appear that Framlington has not quite grasped the immediacy of the medium. Having a website on display in June which is dated April while offering investments in Internet-related businesses will have done the fund management group no favours.

Among other fund management groups on the Net, Fleming Investment Trust Management has updated its website to offer investors access to the share prices of all 18 Fleming investment trusts, updated at 20-minute intervals during the working day.

Through a link with Standard & Poors Micropal, you can also track the performance of Fleming's trusts over one, three, five and 10 years. What will be useful for anybody considering investing in one of Fleming's trusts is the ability to download latest annual reports and the opportunity to "Meet the Manager" of the trust and view their profile.



Robin can be reached at