CBA/Colonial streaks ahead funds

The Commonwealth Bank, No 1 in the Australian funds management industry, has added to its lead in three months to June. According to Assirt's survey, the Commonwealth/Colonial First State group's assets grew to $81.3 billion, up 12.4 per cent, in the quarter. Second was AMP, which had a 3.6 per cent decline in assets managed to $68.3 billion.

In fund-flow terms, the top retail fund manager was Platinum Asset Management, which lifted its total in the June quarter by $676 million, taking its 2002 financial year increase to $1.6 billion.

Caroline Saunders, Assirt's director of investment and insurance, said that investors took buying opportunities in the quarter, responding to lower international share prices and replacing local equities with international shares. She said this indicates that Australian retail investors are becoming more disciplined in their approach by not moving away from international equities despite poor returns over the last year.

Ms Saunders also said there was some evidence of more maturity in fund manager choices, with growth managers continuing to attract investors although they have underperformed in recent years, while value managers have been stable. She said that investors are also increasingly looking for sector specialists, with multi-sector products losing favour. This is one reason why Platinum has been so popular, she stated. Sub-sector funds, such as health, and regional funds have also increased in popularity.