GLOBAL - Institutional investors worldwide are increasingly dropping managed accounts in preference for mutual funds, according to US-based researcher Strategic Insight.

In its most recent 'Spotlight on Switzerland', Strategic Insight found there was a "growing trend of small and medium-sized institutions switching from managed accounts to mutual funds".

The authors said this trend could be seen in Europe and worldwide, but that it was particularly marked in Switzerland, where they calculated institutional mutual funds and share classes had tripled in assets since 2005 and were now standing at $200bn (€140bn).

In total, there are around 1,100 institutional share classes and 430 dedicated institutional mutual funds on offer in Switzerland, and the split between equities and bonds in these funds is about even at 40% each, the authors said.

While the number of institutional share classes has increased considerably since 2005, when there were fewer than 250 on offer, the number of institutional funds has remained virtually unchanged over the last five years.

By far the best-selling fund over 12 months to the end of March was a gold ETF offered by the Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB), which saw $2.3bn in inflows.

The institutional fund with the most inflows was also a gold ETF, offered by UBS Switzerland, which saw net inflows of $800m.

Strategic Insight also found that absolute return concepts continued to play a "visible role in Switzerland after temporary large net redemptions during the crisis".