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Allocators take small cap approach to global equities

After our coronation-themed quiche this weekend, we had a bit of a poke around in the global equity section of our database to see how some of the biggest funds on the market are coping with the heightened volatility.

And one of the surprises was the rise in relative popularity of Vanguard Global Smaller Companies Index, which is now the third largest global equity fund among the allocators we cover, appearing in four portfolios.

That two new purchasers came into the fund during the past six months, compared with one exit, during a period when global liquidity tightened is perhaps the cause of the surprise.

There are not a huge number of global small cap funds in our database - only four are currently held by DFMs we cover - but the Vanguard fund is comfortably the most popular.

Given global market conditions and the apparent shift in sentiment towards "value" stocks, it is perhaps surprising that Fundsmith Equity remains comfortably the most popular global fund, being owned by seven of the allocators we cover. 

Its nearest rival is Ninety One Global Environment held by five DFMs.

There have been two buyers and two sellers of Fundsmith Equity over the past 18 months. 

Smith's great friend and rival Nick Train continues to languish, however, with his global equity fund not owned by any of the allocators on our list. 

It was once held by four DFMs but the last of these sold out late last year.

The global fund sector of our database is very concentrated and only two other funds are owned by more than a couple of allocators.

One is Brown Advisory Global Leaders, which is owned by three allocators and hasn't had much buy or sell activity for some time.

The other is Schroder Global Sustainable Value which saw a spate of buying activity last year to propel it from being owned by zero DFMs to being owned by three.

Towards the end of last year we speculated this might be because it is a rare beast in combining two trends of the moment: ESG and value investing.

Indeed its sister fund Schroder Global Sustainable Growth is only owned by one DFM.

The latest Investment Association data shows global equity funds had net inflows of £365mn in March. 

A glance at our database shows an average of 5.8 per cent of the capital in the balanced portfolios we monitor is held in global equity funds.

That level has remained pretty constant over the past year. 

Interestingly the IA data also showed the first net withdrawal from US equity funds saw outflows of £41mn, the first time investors have pulled capital from that part of the market since October. 

The grim time being experienced by UK equity funds continued in March, with a further £875mn withdrawn. Perhaps we should return to our quiches for solace.

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