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Asset Allocator

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Roll of honour

Asset Allocator has put the Christmas chocolates away for long enough to crunch some numbers on the performance of global funds in 2022. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the best performer in the sector year to date is an energy fund, Schroder ISF Global Energy, which has returned 53 per cent this year. 

It is not held in the portfolios of any of the allocators we cover. 

As the chart above illustrates, the fund stoutly underperformed for most of the past three years, but at the start of 2022 it began a run of performance strong enough to leave it topping the charts for this year and in the top 2 per cent of among more than 400 mandates in the IA Global sector over the past three years. 

The next best performer over the past year is Active Niche Luxembourg Selection Solar fund, which has  returned 23 per cent. 

Away from the energy sector, special mentions must go to Fidelity Global Industrials, which returned 16.6 per cent.

The fund has performed exceptionally well this year, and on a three year basis is not marginally ahead of the peer group. 

It is not currently owned by any of the allocators on our database. 

The best performing fund that is currently owned by one of the allocators we cover is Schroder Global Energy Transition, which returned 8.4 per cent, and outperformed in both the first and second halves of the year. 

Dimensional International Value is also held by at least one allocator on our database and has returned 8.3 per cent this year. It also outperformed in the first half of the year.

One of the pleasures of rummaging through these data  sets is the unearthing smaller funds on a bit of a run of good form.

One such is Ninety One Special Situations, a mandate which has been around since 2007 (and was once managed by Alastair Mundy) but is only £68mn in size.

It has returned 4 per cent over the past year, during a time when its benchmark lost 10 per cent, and on a year to date basis it has returned 5.82 per cent.

Another nugget to emerge from the data is the performance of ESG funds.

Our definition of ESG here is "funds which label themselves as ESG or sustainable or impact in their name". We haven’t delved deep under the bonnet here (but then definitions of ESG are all quite loose these days).

After engaging in lengthy philosophical debate, we also didn't count the Wellington Catholic Values fund as an ESG fund - though it underperformed anyway losing 7 per cent (readers can insert their own jokes here).

It would be easy to assume that this year, which was considered largely favourable to value rather than growth, that ESG would have taken a pummelling.

But in the IA Global sector, 19 per cent of the mandates which outperformed carried some ESG branding, while 22 per cent of the underperformers were ESG funds.

So the divergence was not as wide as might have been expected, and suggests an ESG sector which is developing beyond its stereotype.

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