The Ermine is a europhile, in a sort of car crash tourism sort of way. And Monevator has just introduced me to a lower cost Developed Europe Ex UK Index fund than the Vanguard one, run by Blackrock.
Now TD Direct’s interface as far as funds are concerned is ghastly. giving minimal information.So I roll up and want to buy me some Blackrock Developed Europe ex UK. How hard is that going to be?
Hmm, Continental Europe D Inc it is then. So I take a butcher’s hook at the fund PDF and observe on page 38
an AMC of 0.75%. So I back up and clock that the Trk is the operative word here and indeed I can elect to pay 0.15% on the tracker index. Bullet dodged and the right fund bought, but I wonder if Blackrock are being crafty bastards and relying on a fair number of people not paying attention enough.
TD Direct’s interface is particularly crap when if comes to funds, and the fund universe seems to have a stupendous range of similarly titled products. Most of my dealings are shares so I’ve never been much of a fund sort of guy. TD’s shares interface is fine.
F’rinstance here’s what part of my regular non ISA trading account looks like. In there is some anonymous Vanguard fund VAN FTSE DEV
So WTF is VAN FTSE DEV, I bought it earlier this year in a CGT exercise to diversify out of The Firm’s shares. It’s not exactly descriptive. I actually have a separate spreadsheet with the name, but assume I have only what TD shows me. Let’s review what I own from what TD tell me. The only way to win the information out of TD is to create a buy order, set the fund manager to Vanguard, then step through all the funds until they show me I hold this fund.
This seems to be the only way to second-guess what I already hold. Crap, eh? Even a display of the ISIN code would be useful. Say I was The Accumulator with a shitload of index funds then this whole second-guessing game could get tiresome really quickly. TD get two times fatter on this fund than Blackrock, with their 0.35% platform charge, so I get to eat a 0.5% carrying cost on the whole thing. Not quite as bad as the 1% charge on my old CAT Virgin FTAS ISA of years ago, and on a £1700 stake it’s £8.50. Every flippin’ year, so if I hold this for two years then I have taken the shaft on owning the equivalent Vanguard ETF. The advantage of a fund is there is no transaction cost, so it’s still relevant as I plan to fly into the upcoming Euro storm whenever it blows, but once I have finished accumulating it could be time to sell up and switch to an ETF for the hold stage to ditch those annual platform charges 😉
I didn’t start off with funds and perhaps I am prejudiced against them, but there seems to be a lot of subtle charlatans in the field looking to get a hand in my money by dishonest means, from the naming conventions of Blackrock to TD’s fee structure. Compared to the honesty of paying to by a share or investment trust, and then just sitting on my backside watching the dividends roll in, this seems to be dealing with a bunch of dodgy geezers. It used to be that funds were cheaper than ETFs, but I only have to hold this small stake for three years to end up better off with the ETF.