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DFMs find some success in coming to America

Market lore has it that passive is the only way to go with US allocations, and indeed six of the most popular US funds in our database are passives, including the most popular: Fidelity Index US.

But we have crunched the numbers and discovered that in the turmoil of the first half of this year, a healthy 47 funds (or 33 per cent of the sector) beat the S&P 500 - some of them by a sizeable distance.

Indeed 28 per cent of the active US funds in our database outperformed the S&P 500.

And the even better news is that many of those funds that topped the charts are held by the DFMs we cover - five of the top 10 outperformers in the first six months of 2022.

Given the collapse in tech stocks this year, it is perhaps unsurprising that seven of the top 10 outperformers have the word 'income' or 'value' in their names.

The absolute best performer was GQG Partners US Equity - a £637m fund which doesn’t fall into that category but which does invest in value stocks nonetheless.

It returned 8.85 per cent and it is not held by any of the allocators on our database.

The next two best performers, BNY Mellon US Equity Income and Quilter Investors US Equity Income, are both run by BNY Mellon, the latter as a segregated mandate for Quilter clients.

The funds performed within 50 basis points of each other, which is chunky over a six-month period but the funds have slightly different objectives, with the BNY Mellon-branded mandate placing a greater emphasis on total return.

The BNY Mellon-branded fund has returned 37.47 per cent over the past three years, just 0.06 per cent less than its sector, and is owned by one of the allocators on our database.

So what about the remaining two outperformers in the top 10 which do not explicitly brand themselves as 'value' or 'income'?

One of them is Fidelity American Special Situations fund, a £749m vehicle run by former Artemis manager Rosanna Burcheri and which is held by one DFM in our database.

This fund, which uses a value style, has returned 18 per cent over the past year to 20 July, compared with a return of less than 1 per cent for the sector. It is held in the portfolio of one of the allocators on our database. 

The other is BlackRock US Opportunities, a £114m fund run by David Zhao and Tony DeSpirito and investing mainly in small and mid-sized companies. It is held by no DFMs in our database but has returned 1.32 per cent at a time when the S&P 500 lost 11 per cent.

It would appear to have done this by being very much underweight tech stocks and very much overweight financials.

The worst performer in the North America category in the six month period was Morgan Stanley US Growth, which lost 52 per cent in six months, while the Baillie Gifford American fund wasn’t far behind, losing 49 per cent.

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