The investment-trust industry, which has long been the poor relation of open-ended funds such as unit trusts, is rubbing its hands with glee at the prospect of the retail distribution review. The regulatory shake-up of financial advice, which takes effect on 1 January, will ban providers from paying commissions to advisers who recommend their products to clients. Investment trusts, as quoted companies, have never been able to do this and blame commission bias for the fact financial advisers neglected the sector in favour of open-ended funds.
There is, however, a flaw in the theory that RDR will prompt a major return to favour for investment trusts. A number of intermediaries are warning that many funds are not liquid enough for them to be able to deal in the quantities they are used to trading – and that they may have to steer clear for this reason.
A new report from the Association of Investment Companies, the investment trust trade body, warns that its members will have to deal with this issue – particularly the industry's many small, specialist trusts where liquidity is more likely to be an issue. "Most self-directed investors and IFAs will have little difficulty getting the shares they want," says AIC director-general Ian Sayers. "For institutions and wealth managers, which are dealing in much larger volumes, the picture may be different."
Taking AIM: Rangers' float is alternative. But will it attract punters?
Rangers may have been banished to the lowliest division of Scottish professional football after its financial collapse last year, but it is about to rejoin archrivals Celtic in one league. The football club makes its debut on the Alternative Investment Market on Wednesday, after an IPO process to raise up to £27m. The retail element of that process, which seeks £10m, ends tomorrow. Football clubs have almost all proved hopeless stock market investments, but Rangers has already attracted support from an impressive range of institutions. The club's advisers point out that it will begin trading with a market capitalisation of just £50m, despite having no debt (courtesy of its administration), cash in the bank of £50m and wholly owned assets such as its Ibrox stadium.
The counter-argument is that to compete once again, Rangers will have to spend big money on players. It has a global fanbase of around 5 million and it owns its own TV rights but that may not be enough to convince investors.
Small businessman of the week: James Uffindell, founder, Job Bounties
The interesting thing about recruitment in this country is that it's one of the last industries to be fundamentally changed by the internet. It's still far too expensive to recruit. Also, this should be a referral-based market. People who come to a job through some sort of referral tend to stay in it for much longer.
"Having worked in recruitment and studied economics, it occurred to me that there really ought to be a market price for each job, a price the recruiter is prepared to pay to get the post filled. And if someone is able to help you fill that job, they should be financially rewarded. That's the theory on which Job Bounties is based. Employers post vacancies on the website and offer a fee for filling them. If you refer someone for a job and they take it, you get the fee. We make our money by taking an equivalent bounty from the employer when the new employee starts. We launched this year and the initial signs are promising."
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