Things are hotting up. Hot on the heels of CoFunds announcing that they were going to give fund managers a really sore Chinese burn if they didn’t launch ‘clean’ share classes, those wacky pranksters at Skandia came out in favour of the current 150bps (or whatever) class. The idea for them is that they can protect their current deals and just start passing the full rebate back to the client, presumably in units. Then they’ll charge their slice and the adviser will charge theirs. Simples.
So those of us looking in from the outside were looking forward to a war of models. For a small fee I was thinking about putting on a Gladiators-style fight where Graham Bentley would take on Alastair Conway with those giant cotton bud things. I think we’d all be happy to pay to see that.
But now Fidelity ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin” FundsNetwork have weighed in saying that they plan to go the same road as Skandia. On the basis of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ it seems we’re now looking at a heavyweight tag team of Fiddy and the Southampton mob against the plucky loners from Mincing Lane.
On a serious note, this is a setback for those who believe full unbundling with no rebates is the cleanest way forward after RDR. Of the ÃÂ£140bn or so in the platform market, just under ÃÂ£80bn has just held its hand up for keeping the current share class. And with investment managers keen to minimise costs to preserve margins wherever possible, we may see increasing reluctance to launch new share classes in respect of different commercial deals.
It’s early days and we’re just at the trash-talking before the bout. But for the moment let’s enjoy the mental image of Ed and Graham slipping on the Mexican wrestling masks and taking on the CoFunds massive.
Note – I wanted to put a video of Celebrity Deathmatch here but Raoul Duke, the lang cat’s copyright attorney, said it would be bad juju and the squares at MTV would get all huffy. Shame.