01 January 1999

A HIGH COURT BATTLE could be the outcome of a bitter dispute between two fund management companies over allegedly misleading advertising. Jupiter Asset Management has accused rival Perpetual Unit Trust Management of running a ‘disgraceful and shockingly misleading’ campaign, al-though the latter continues to use the offending ads, whilst adopting what Perpetual marketing director Roger Cormick terms a ‘dignified silence’. Mean-time, Jupiter chairman John Duffield has consulted the fearsome George Carman QC about pursuing a case for malicious falsehood if industry watchdog Imro takes no action in the matter. At issue is Perpetual’s claim to have been ‘fund manager of the year’ for six years running. Such ‘awards’ are handed out by the vanload within the fund management industry, and Perpetual’s ‘award’ is based neither on its performance (said to have been disappointing), nor its business volumes. This rather relevant fact is confined to the small print at the foot of its ads. Perpetual has not only refused to respond to Jupiter’s complaints but has stepped-up its campaign. In a tit-for-tat move, Jupiter is now running a series of advertisements proclaiming itself as the real fund manager of the year.