There is a hoary old chestnut about the professor of economics walking through the City with a graduate student. They see a £20 note lying on the pavement across the street, and the student makes as if to cross the road to pick it up.
“Don’t bother,” says the professor. “It must be a fake. If it were real, someone would already have picked it up.”
There’s a lot of loose chat about downward pressure on fees, but those who say that it will only affect the mediocre may be right. One fund manager at least is seeing opportunities for nudging fees upwards, on one new product.
Ashmore Group is offering to take distressed assets off your hands in return for fat management and performance fees. The assets in question could be anything in emerging markets that is suffering from illiquidity. Investors, such as banks or pension funds, may not want them on their books currently, as mark to market valuations are unflattering, but nor do they want to sell them in such an unwelcoming environment.