Fund Management Industry: whose interests does it protect?

A recent squabble between asset managers in France illustrates that the fund management industry sometimes seems to forget whose interests it should primarily serve. The debate relates to the decision by AFG, the French fund management trade body, to allow foreign managers to join the association as 'second-tier' members. The established foreign member firms were always encouraged, even compelled, to operate costly local teams before they were allowed to join as full members. This overt form of protectionism made it difficult for non-accredited foreign fund managers to penetrate the French market to any meaningful degree.
But rather than fight among themselves the industry should be united in condemning protectionist policies as they ultimately lead to higher costs for the investors. (14/07/2010)

Intermix Acquisition: Directors accused of favoring bidder

We have for a long time argued that investors have to constantly be vigilant if they are shareholders in a company that receives a takeover bid. The interests of the executives and the board directors are not necessarily served by receiving the highest bid but may follow their own agenda. A recent court judgement in the case of the acquisition of Intermix by News Corporation rejects to objection of the directors to the court case brought against them. (04/07/2010)

Spread Betting firm worth more than London Stock Exchange

Nothing could illustrate the absurdity of tax policies more than the fact that the British spread betting firm IG Index has now a larger stock market capitalisation than the centuries-old London Stock Exchange. As long as governments discriminate against individual investors in equities and even give tax advantages to those speculating on a short-term basis there is little hope for a level-playing field for retail investors. (04/07/2010)