UK - Russell/Mellon CAPS has vowed to clamp down on any retail-only funds appearing in its figures.
The move comes after it was revealed the performance measurement company had let at least two retail funds into its third quarter Pension Fund Update tables.
Leading fund managers – including Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and Threadneedle Investments – claimed this was skewing the tables and undermining the peer group rating.
But CAPS has assured observers that the ABN AMRO UK Growth Fund will no longer be listed in the tables and that it is investigating whether the Fidelity Life Special Situations fund should be included too.
The firm also stressed that it would investigate any funds in its tables that fund managers felt were not open to UK institutional investors.
But despite these measures Threadneedle institutional sales director Stephen Holt was still critical of CAPS.
“The onus should be on CAPS to take responsibility and clean-up its universes, not on the disgruntled fund managers.”
He added that while removing retail funds is a start, more information should be provided by CAPS about the strategies of each fund.
“If managers show more than one fund in a particular universe they should be able to explain the clear differences in strategies followed. Otherwise you end up with a confusing picture.”
In a more radical suggestion, Holt said that CAPS should check whether funds in their figures - and those seeking inclusion - are genuinely following strategies consistent with their benchmarks.
He said that Threadneedle’s analysis showed some unusual figures in the CAPS tables.
“These could genuinely be managers comfortable with high levels of risk, but they could also be esoteric strategies that aren’t really consistent with the benchmark.
“A simple and effective approach would be to include tracking errors relative to the benchmark in the Pooled Funds Survey along with performance numbers.”
*Fund managers have also criticised the data measurer’s corporate bond league tables.
They argue that CAPS Pooled Pensions Fund Update does not compare like-for-like – mixing corporate and government bonds together.
Aegon Asset Management has refused to put its segregated bond funds into the CAPS universe and said that it was increasingly using its own benchmarks to judge its funds.
Aegon extra income and optimum income funds manager Stephen Snowden said: “When you are looking at the peer group it’s hard to compare apples with apples.
“Because of this, we pitch our funds on an index basis to our clients. We wouldn’t cross reference the universe because, in bonds, it’s not comparing like for like.”
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Malcolm Mclean says getting the channels of communication right and engaging more openly is a good starting point