UK - Aberdeen Asset Management is disputing the performance figures published by Russell/Mellon CAPS.
CAPS figures showed that the Aberdeen Managed Exempt (Murray Johnstone) fund had a net return of 3.6% and was ranked second from bottom in the fourth quarter last year.
By contrast the Aberdeen Exempt Managed fund had a net return of 10.1% and was ranked fifth.
But AAM believes the Murray Johnstone figure is actually approximately double the CAPS estimate.
Sales and marketing director Gary Marshall said: “We don’t believe the CAPS figures on the Murray Johnstone fund. The performance is about 3-4 percentage points better than it is shown at around 7%. The underlying asset performance doesn’t tie up with the performance that is coming through on CAPS.”
Marshall said the disputed figure was noticed during routine in-house checks and the company immediately contacted CAPS to try to resolve the matter.
But CAPS defended its figures and denied knowledge of a dispute with AAM.
Head of research and development Alan Wilcock responded: “I don’t know the circumstances of this particular case but all the numbers we publish in our pooled survey are confirmed by the asset manager as being correct before being published. We produce draft numbers for each participant and we ask them to confirm they are correct before they go out.”
AAM is keen to resolve the disputed performance of its Murray Johnstone fund as quickly as possible.
Industry analysts have seen the figures as evidence of AAM’s difficulties in merging funds, following its acquisition of Murray Johnstone in late 2000.
AAM conceded some structural obstacles remain as it grapples with merging the Aberdeen Exempt Managed fund of funds with the Johnstone direct investment fund.
But it argues that convergence is closer than the CAPS figures would suggest.
Marshall said: “One of the issues with fund mergers is stamp duty issues and it is taking a bit longer to deal with than we would have expected. We expect the two to be in line going forward.”
Aberdeen suffered further bad news when its share price fell 29p to 297.5p last week after the Financial Services Authority said it was investigating split capital investment trusts.
By Paul Sanderson
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