Investment fund statements: how hard can it be to make them clear?

Today I got my six-monthly statement from F&C Investment Trust in the post. I mention this because, almost alone amongst the various statements I get from investment managers, F&C’s is easy to read.

What F&C does, which few others do, is tell you both the value of your fund / units / shares now, at the start of the period, and the size of the gain (or in this case loss) over the six months. A quick glance and you know all you need to know: have I got richer or poorer, and by how much.

Yet its amazing how many other managers don’t do this. Fidelity and Gartmore’s statements, for example, tell you this current value of you fund. But to work out the performance and your gain or loss you need to dig out the valuation from six months ago and “do the math”.

Why do companies do this? Do they think that they can hide poor investment performance by not making it easy to compare? I can’t believe this is the case, because the statements are the same when the investment performs well too.

You have to conclude, then, that this is just a case of poor communication.  The companies haven’t really thought what the purpose of the communication is for the customer.  As a result the statement is almost useless.

Mind you, my days of getting lots of statements from various investment managers are pretty much over as I’ve transferred everything onto Standard Life’s WRAP platform.  Obviously its very convenient getting one statement for all my investments but I still have no idea how my money is doing as Standard Life’s statements are rubbish too.

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