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24 Sep 2007

AEGON launches the UK's first Ethical Cautious Managed fund

AEGON Asset Management has announced the coming launch of the UK’s first Ethical Cautious Managed fund to the retail market on 1 March 2007.

The Ethical Cautious Managed fund marks another first for AEGON Asset Management, which was also the first to launch an Ethical Corporate Bond fund in April 2000, a move since copied by many of its rivals.

It is one of three new funds AEGON Asset Management is bringing to the market, which also includes a UK Cautious Managed fund and a UK Opportunities fund.

The UK Cautious Managed and Ethical Cautious Managed funds have been launched in response to demand from UK investors and advisers for lower risk managed funds as an alternative to with-profits and cash investments. They aim to provide a relatively safe and steady return through a low volatility investment strategy with a maximum of 60% of the funds held in equities and 40% in fixed income.

Both Cautious Managed funds build on AEGON Asset Management’s recognized capabilities in the UK equity and fixed income sectors. The Ethical Cautious Managed combines AEGON Asset Management’s stringent ethical criteria with a cautious investment philosophy, bringing together the expertise of both its Ethical Equity team and its Ethical Corporate Bond team.

Audrey Ryan will manage the Ethical Cautious Managed fund, supported by Iain Buckle. Audrey also runs AEGON Asset Management’s Ethical Equity fund, which is AA rated by Forsyth-OBSR and has achieved consistent strong top quartile performance over one, three and five years*. Iain Buckle is also the support manager of AEGON Asset Management’s Ethical Corporate Bond Fund, which is AA rated by Forsyth-OBSR.

The Ethical Cautious Managed fund intends to take an unconstrained investment approach, capitalizing on the recognized research capabilities of the UK equity team.

Ryan said, “The Ethical Cautious Managed fund will aim to take advantage of our experience and in-depth knowledge of the UK equities market without any benchmark constraints. It will be a high conviction, stock-picking fund with no sector or stock limits and have an ideal range of 50 to 60 stocks at launch.”

Jon Bennett, AEGON’s director of third party business, said, “We believe there is significant demand from advisers and investors for a real and viable alternative to with-profits and cash investments. At AEGON Asset Management, we are well placed to deliver this alternative, with our recognized strength in the fixed income market and growing reputation for UK equities.

To mark the launch of these new funds, early investors will benefit from a 2.5% discount reducing the initial charge to 3% until 30 April 2007. This means that if the 3% initial commission is rebated there are zero up-front costs for the investor.

AEGON Asset Management UK's assets under management totaled more than £40.4 billion ($8.1 billion). The company's activities are divided into three business areas, Institutional Business, Insured Business and Retail-Fund Business.