The best and worst: Close race among big insurers

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The Independent Online
SUPERIOR in-house research is the secret of London & Manchester's top-rated performance among unit-linked funds managed by large insurance companies, according to Richard Foord, its investment manager.

London & Manchester does not have a spread between its buying and selling price, although 3 per cent has been added to take account of its actual charges. This may give it a slight advantage over the short term, but even taking that into account, it comes out at the top of the pile.

The winner of the small companies fund sector, London Life, also uses single pricing in its funds, and so has had a notional 4 per cent added to take account of charges.

Second-ranked NUAM, a range of funds managed by Norwich Union, is now closed to investors, while Norwich Union's open funds were ranked at No 10 in the table.

Money Management points out that many of the companies are closely bunched, with the companies ranked between No 4 and No 11 delivering similar standards of performance across the range of funds.

Among the insurance companies in this bracket were Standard Life, Pearl, Sun Life and Abbey Life.

Those companies just missing the bottom of the table include Hill Samuel, Cornhill, Sun Alliance, Allied Dunbar, the Pru and Midland Life.

In the small companies category, the runner-up was Acuma, financial planning arm of American Express.

Also scoring well in this category were Scottish Life, Provident Life, Irish Life and Equitable Life. The bottom three were Royal Life, Royal Liver and Reliance Mutual.