Norwich Union UK Special Situations Fund launches with AA rating

Article date: 22 May 2006

Norwich Union’s UK Special Situations fund has beenawarded an AA (New) fund management rating by Standard &Poor’s Fund Services.

The £200m fund will be available from 22 May 2006 and has beendesigned exclusively for Norwich Union. It will be jointly managedby Richard Buxton, manager of Schroder UK Alpha Plus Fund, and AndyBrough, manager of Schroder UK Mid 250 Fund.

Neil Davies, director of investments for Norwich Union, said:“This is terrific news. Standard & Poor’s is a wellrespected agency and it is a tremendous accolade for a fund to begiven an AA rating on launch. It shows how highly regarded RichardBuxton and Andy Brough are. Andy Brough’s funds are currentlyrated AAA and Richard Buxton’s UK Alpha Plus fund has an AArating. The two managers have successfully outperformed withprevious mandates, and this is the reason Standard &Poor’s Fund Services has awarded the fund an AA (New)rating.”

Richard Buxton, manager of Norwich UK Special Situations Fund,said: "We do not expect the type of returns from equities that wehave seen over the last three years. The real investmentopportunities are harder to find. An index-unconstrained approachenables us to capitalise on the best investment opportunitiesacross a much broader spectrum of companies with the aim ofsecuring attractive returns for investors in the long term."

The fund will appeal to more experienced investors who areprepared to take higher risks in their search for higher returns.The launch is part of Norwich Union’s drive to develop itsinvestment range and increase sales of collective investments. Inthe past 12 months it has:

  • Launched the Norwich UK Growth and Value fund, managed byJPMorgan Asset Management
  • Appointed James Dalby as head of fund propositions 
  • Added three fund of funds to its ISA range 
  • Appointed John Clougherty as director of collectiveinvestments sales
  • Launched four manager of managers funds

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Press officecontacts:
David Gwyer 01904 452828 Out of hours 07800 699508
Louise Soulsby 01904 452617

Schroders press contacts:
Lucy Rae 020 76586168
Caroline smith 0207658 3365

Standard & Poor’s Fund Services mediacontact:
Angeliki Kallipoliti 020 7176 8176

Notes to editors
About theNorwich UK Special Situations fund
Fundsize: £200m. Approximate number of holdings at launch: 50 stocks.IMA sector: UK All Companies. Benchmark: FTSE All Share index.Initial charge: 5%. Fund charges AMC: 1.5%. TER: 1.8%. Standardinitial commission: 3%. Standard renewal commission: 0.5%.Investment levels for ISA investors: lumps sums £500, regularmonthly savings £50.

About the fund managers
Thefunds will be managed by Andy Brough, manager of the Schroder UKMid 250 fund, and Richard Buxton, manager of Schroder UK Alpha Plusfund.

Andy Brough’s fund is 1st quartile over 1, 3 and 5 yearsand his fund is AAA rated by S&P and OBSR. RichardBuxton’s fund is 1st quartile over 1 and 3 years.It is AA rated by S&P, and A rated by OBSR.

About Schroders Plc
Schroders isa global asset management company with £122.5 ($211.0 /€178.2) billion under management as at 31 December 2005. Itsclients are major financial institutions including banks andinsurance companies, local and public authorities, charities,pension funds, high net worth individuals and retail investors.

Notes to editors
Norwich Union is the largestinsurance services provider in the UK. It is a leading provider oflife, pensions and investment products and one of the largestFinancial Adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of thecompany's long-term savings business in the UK.

Norwich Union has strategic alliances with building societiesand other leading UK brand names including CIS and The Royal Bankof Scotland Group. Norwich Union's news releases and a selection ofimages are available from Aviva's internet press centre atwww.aviva.com/media

Standard & Poor's, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies(NYSE:MHP), is the world's foremost provider of independent creditratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research and data.For more information, visit http://www.standardandpoors.com.

Ratings Definition: Funds rated in the AAA to A categoriesdemonstrate to Standard & Poor's Fund Services an ability toprovide above average returns over a long-term period (relative tofunds in the same sector) along with a strong ability to adhere toa consistent investment process. The differentiation in the ratingcategories is based on quantitative factors along with Standard& Poor's assessment of the investment process and management.The rating is based on an evaluation of qualitative management,investment process, and organisation) and quantitative (historicperformance, portfolio construction, and volatility) factors, whichcontribute to long-term performance. The rating does not addressthe market, credit or counterparty risk of a fund, nor a fund'ssuitability as a counterparty or obligor.

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