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Swiss fund assets down to CHF654bn in March but assets for alternatives (including funds of hedge funds) rose by 5.4%

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Opalesque Industry Update – In March 2011, the volume of assets placed in the investment funds covered by the statistics stood at CHF 654 billion, around 9% below the high set prior to the financial crisis (CHF 714 billion in October 2007). Compared with February, fund assets were down around CHF 9.6 billion, while net inflows totaled some CHF 1.4 billion.

The first fund statistics drawn up in close collaboration between Swiss Fund Data AG and Lipper, the fund research company of Thomson Reuters, are now available for March 2011. The Swiss Funds Association SFA will in future publish these statistics each month. The statistics are based on the FINMA authorization list and cover all funds under Swiss law as well as all foreign funds authorized for public sale in Switzerland, including their institutional unit classes. Foreign funds restricted exclusively for qualified investors are not covered by the statistics given that these products are only placed privately and cannot receive FINMA authorization. “After a hiatus of around two years, we are pleased to be able to offer our stakeholders market statistics with high data quality,” said Martin Thommen, President of the Swiss Funds Association SFA.

“Closing this gap in the statistics allows us to enhance the transparency of the Swiss fund market for investors and providers alike,” explained SFA CEO Dr. Matthäus Den Otter. Otto Christian Kober, Global Head of Methodology at Lipper, said: “We are looking forward to working together with the Swiss Funds Association SFA to present statistics on the Swiss fund market complete with foreign providers.”

As of the end of March, the total volume of assets in the investment funds covered by the statistics stood at CHF 654.0 billion, with Swiss funds for institutional investors accounting for some CHF 231.5 billion of this figure. The assets under management fell by CHF 9.6 billion.

Disregarding net inflows/outflows, the assets in the “other funds” segment (alternative investments and commodities) rose by 5.4%, whereas bond funds and equity funds slipped back by 1.7% and 2.4% respectively. The assets under management in mixed funds fell by 3.4% in the month under review.

Bond funds were able to attract the greatest net inflows in March (CHF 1.4 billion). High-yield bonds in particular contributed to this showing, accounting for CHF 1.0 billion. Some of the new money in bond funds stems from switches from money market investments, which investors have been avoiding for two years with interest rates still being very low from the historical perspective. Withdrawals from money market funds totaled CHF 550 million in the month under review.

The “other funds” category posted inflows of CHF 989 million, this being above all attributable to commodity funds, and in particular precious metals funds. Furthermore, funds of hedge funds were also able to post modest inflows once again for the first time since the financial crisis.

Equity funds suffered net outflows in March, albeit only to a modest extent. This was attributable to equity funds covering Japan (down CHF 505 million due to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe), as well as equity funds investing in Europe and the eurozone, which together shed CHF 515 million due to the persistent uncertainty over the debt crisis. In the equity segment, there were inflows for North America equity funds (CHF 1.0 billion), Swiss equity funds (CHF 157 million) and global equity funds (CHF 153 million). Another interesting aspect was the inflows of some CHF 143 million posted by equity funds covering Russia. Mixed funds posted outflows of around CHF 322 million, with investors avoiding investment strategy funds with fixed equity exposures in particular.

(press release)

The Swiss Funds Association SFA, which was established in Basel in 1992, is the representative association of the Swiss fund and asset management industry. Its members include all the major Swiss fund management companies, many representatives of foreign collective investment schemes, and asset managers of collective investment schemes. These cover more than 95% of the fund assets distributed in Switzerland. Among the SFA’s members there are also numerous other service providers active in the collective investment schemes sector. The SFA is an active member of the Brussels-based European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), and the globally active International Investment Funds Association (IIFA), which is based in Montreal. www.sfa.ch

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