InvestmentsDec 16 2015

Funds of the year

Search supported by
Funds of the year

It has been a year of ups and downs in the market, although that is not to say there have not been returns to be made.

CF Ruffer Japanese has proven to be the top-performing fund in the Investment Association’s Flexible Investment sector. The £467m fund returned 9.28 per cent over the year so far, according to FE statistics.

The largest proportion of the fund – 24 per cent – is held in financials, while industrials make up 20 per cent, and technology makes up 14 per cent.

The worst-performing fund in the sector was Baring Dynamic Emerging Markets, returning -10.58 per cent, according to FE. The objective of the £15m fund is to deliver emerging market equity-like returns with less than emerging market equity risk over a long-term investment horizon.

The largest part – 38 per cent – of the fund is in emerging market government bonds, while 30 per cent is in emerging market Asian equity.

In the IA’s Mixed Investment 20-60 per cent share sector, the best-performing fund since 1 January has been Artemis Monthly Distribution.

The £63m fund has returned 7.22 per cent so far this year. According to FE, 45 per cent of the fund is invested in international equities, while 38 per cent is in non-investment grade bonds. Financials make up the largest part of the fund’s allocation, at 38 per cent, followed by telecommunication services at 13 per cent.

The poorest-performing fund in the sector was Schroder Global Multi-Asset Income, having returned -6.68 per cent.

This £3.65bn fund has invested 36 per cent of its assets in equities and 30 per cent in global high yield fixed interest. More than half of its assets – 51 per cent – is invested in North America, while 18 per cent is invested in the UK.

In the IA 40-85 per cent share sector, the top performer of 2015 to date has been Royal London Sustainable World Trust TR, which has returned 8.78 per cent.

The £191m fund invests nearly half its assets – 49 per cent – in international equities, while 33 per cent is in UK equities. Its manager Mike Fox has put 45 per cent of its assets in the UK, while 36 per cent is invested in the USA.

The sector’s worst-performing fund was the Clerical Medical Balanced Managed, which has returned -4.44 per cent since 1 January, according to FE. The £9.9m fund is 58 per cent invested in UK equities, which is overwhelmingly the largest asset class in the fund, the next largest being UK fixed interest at 8.7 per cent.

Adviser view

Jason Hollands, managing director for business development and communications at Tilney Bestinvest, said: “CF Ruffer Japanese is an outlier in the Flexible Investment sector, as this is fundamentally a Japanese equity fund which may use some exposure to fixed income, so does not merit like-for-like comparison with true multi-asset sector peers.

“The performance reflects the strength of Japan’s Topix Index, which the fund is benchmarked against over the year, although the fund has underperformed the index so should not be earning any trophies for 2015 when compared with other Japanese equity funds.

“Artemis Monthly Distribution brings together the firm’s star global income manager, Jacob le Tusch, and respected strategic bond manager James Foster.

“The global nature of the equity component (currently 43 per cent) is a differentiator from many rival funds which focus purely on the UK market for equities, and the fund has also benefitted from le Tusch’s policy of hedging the currency exposure in the equity portfolio in line with the index, which has ensured the fund has ridden the strengthening of the US dollar while fishing further afield for stock holdings.

“Royal London Sustainable World, a former CIS fund, sits within RLAM’s socially responsible product suite, and consequently its equity exposure will differ considerably for the index.

“Having negligible exposure to commodity companies because of their high environmental impacts has clearly been a major boon to performance this year given the global slump in mining and energy stocks. The fund has sizeable exposure to health care stocks.”