Offshore funds to debut in IMA sectors

 St.Ouen's bay,Jersey.

Offshore funds will be included alongside their onshore counterparts in sector classifications for the first time next month.

The Investment Management Association (IMA) provides sectors for onshore funds according to their type, such as UK all companies, global bonds and absolute return.

From 1 April 2010, 71 offshore funds will begin to be included in these sectors - meaning investors will be able to more easily compare onshore with offshore funds. This could lead to increased demand for funds domiciled abroad, such as in Dublin, Luxembourg or Channel Islands.

It is anticipated that further offshore funds will be included in the sectors later this year.

The IMA will flag which funds are offshore so that investors and financial advisers may search for just onshore or offshore, depending on their requirements.

Jane Lowe, director of markets at the IMA, says: "The inclusion of offshore funds into IMA sectors is a natural evolution for our classification system and takes account of the intended flexibility for distributing European funds.

"The change should make a wider choice of funds available to investors and allow offshore fund providers to market their funds on an equal footing to UK domiciled funds."

Onshore emerging markets funds are one area that could be hit by better-performing offshore funds invading their sectors and charging straight to the top of the performance tables.

At the end of last year, HSBC Global Asset Management and Baring Asset Management compiled data that showed the top three performing funds in the China, India, Latin America, and global emerging markets categories over the past year were offshore - based in either Luxembourg or Dublin, rather than the UK.