Blackrock are crafty bastards with their fund names

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?

TD Directs Blackrock list
TD Direct’s Blackrock list

Hmm, Continental Europe D Inc it is then. So I take a butcher’s hook at the fund PDF and observe on page 38

AMC 0.75%? WTF?
AMC 0.75%? WTF?

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

TD Direct's account file. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that Vanguard fund is
TD Direct’s account file. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that Vanguard fund called VAN FTSE DEV is. The numbers don’t add up because I’ve suppressed a line of The Firm’s stock 😉

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.

the clue is I have this holding
the clue is I have this holding

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.



5 thoughts on “Blackrock are crafty bastards with their fund names”

  1. With HL you get a list of tracker funds on one page, with no sneakiness:

    BlackRock Continental European Equity Tracker has an annual fee of 0.45% plus 0.13% fund manager expenses and no platform fee on top.

    I am not trying to advertise HL by repeatedly mentioning them on blogs, but compared to the horror stories I hear about other brokers I’m glad I’m with them.

    Hopefully by the autumn the RDR fallout will be complete and they might even come out with competitively priced fees, in which case I will have no reason to leave.

    TD Direct, on the other hand, even make money off customers ringing their 0845 number!


  2. @BTS Crikey, I’ll shut up and stop moaning – you’re being had!

    The fund I bought was this ISIN GB00B83MH186 for which I pay 0.17% to BRK and 0.35% to TD, ie 0.52% annually. The HL version appears to be a non-clean class fund with the 0.45%, some of which is presumably baksheesh to HL 😉 There’s not a lot in it, you are running 0.58% costs and can presumably find out what you own without jumping through the hoops I had to.

    0845 numbers eh, saynoto0870 was my friend together with Mrs Ermine’s all you can eat mobile tariff when I did the Bed and ISA shift…


  3. Well I don’t actually own that fund, but you’re right I’m probably being had on some of the others. Fortunately the total fees aren’t too high as I don’t have as much money as you yet 🙂

    I’m certainly going to revisit things once the new fee structures are a bit clearer – I’m eagerly awaiting the updated Monevator best buy table for that.

    I still think there’s an element of you get what you pay for, and if HL come up with a sensible fee structure I’ll probably stick with them.


  4. Somewhat in TD’s defence, there are boatloads of similar sounding funds on their platform and only a limited “fund name” field in which to distinguish them, so confusion may be inevitable.

    Letting you pick directly by SEDOL (or mexid, or whatever) after research elsewhere would at least make it easy to ensure you are buying what you intend, but the platform does not seem to offer that fairly obvious feature. For stock you can enter the Stock Symbol — why not something similar for funds?

    And why TD offer both expensive and cheap versions of the same fund in the first place is an open question…

    Anyway, you can perhaps do what I have done in the past. Use ‘Fund Quickrank’ to pick the group you are interested in, Blackrock, then sort by Ongoing Charge and click Buy on the one with the TER you want. That way you know exactly what you are buying. This does seem like a workround for a decently sized platform failing, though.


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