FTfm on AV | FT Alphaville

FTfm on AV

Some highlights from Monday’s FTfm.

Slowdown in new fund launches
The European fund industry is running out of steam, with new fund launches dropping to their lowest level in nearly a decade. The decline reflects concerns about the eurozone crisis and the outlook for equities. A shift in bank policy also appears to have contributed to the slowdown with European banks pulling clients away from mutual funds and moving them into deposits.

Pensions lobby on index rules
A group of institutional investors has backed calls by the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds for companies to allow at least half of their shares to be traded freely in order to be eligible to enter the UK’s flagship equity indices. The campaign coincides with research suggesting that companies in which founders and related parties own the bulk of the equity tend to have lower standards of governance.

Tobin tax costs ‘would fall on investors’
The law of unintended consequences thrives on badly drafted legislation and, if the fund industry is to be believed, it will be centre stage if plans to impose a Europe-wide financial transaction tax see the light of day. Money market funds would be hit hard by an FTT, which could also accelerate the ongoing shift from active to passive investment.

Engineering better returns from hedge funds
Face to face interview with Isaac Souede, chairman, chief executive and chief investment strategist at Permal, the fund of hedge funds business owned by Legg Mason.

Financial tricks to get out of debt
Something funny has been going on in Greek debt markets, says James Mackintosh. Even as the yields available on bonds maturing in just a few months have soared to silly levels, the government has been able to raise money at perfectly reasonable rates. What is going on is a reworked version of the old principle of printing money to pay government debt.

Enviros beat the coal lobby – shock
Environmental activists, the Environmental Protection Agency and the gas industry have just won a key battle against the coal miners and the coal-fired electric utilities. This will lead to an acceleration of the shift away from coal power and a significant quickening of demand for natural gas, says John Dizard.

Page turners full of shock and awe
Pauline Skypala highlights two selections from the library of books seeking to explain the causes of the financial crisis.

Emerging world will not come to the rescue
A silent storm is raging across the emerging economies while the world watches the sovereign debt drama unfolding in Europe, Emerging market currencies, stocks and bonds have been among the worst performing assets in 2011 and a major run on these economies is on the horizon, says Humayun Shahryar, chief executive of Auvest Capital Management.

The case for labelling Newcits as complex
If a fund uses derivatives heavily, does it become too complex for the average retail investor? Robert Pozen examines is the critical question currently facing the global fund industry.

EU prepares to battle for a stronger system
The financial services industry often complains of being under siege from a barrage of legislation, so it is perhaps no surprise that those designing the new rules adopt military terminology to describe their strategy.

KIIDs fail on use of plain language
European asset managers are failing to use plain language within their key investor information documents (KIIDs), a survey has found.