UK - Merrill Lynch Investment Managers is launching a range of enhanced index funds for UK institutional investors.
The funds maintain the low risk characteristics of index trackers but will aim to achieve higher returns through the use of quantitative stock selection and stock substitution techniques, says the manager.

The enhanced index fund range will comprise separate funds for the geographic regions of Asia Pacific, continental Europe, North America and the UK.
The regional funds aim to out-perform their relevant indexes by 1-1.5%, while the UK fund will try to outperform its index by 0.5-1%.

The four funds, modelled on US enhanced index funds, will be managed by the firm’s global quantitative team that manages US$40bn worldwide.

“These funds will allow European institutions to enjoy the low risk profile of a conventional index tracker but benefit from intelligent exploitation of the market anomalies that persist in indices across the world. We think they’re going to prove very attractive to clients considering a passive approach to managing their portfolios,” says Peter Gibbs, head of Merrill Lynch Investment Management for Europe, Middle East and Africa.