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Most popular UK funds see most DFM sales

UK equities have been losing more money than a tech start up in recent years.

This isn't a particularly surprising statement, but it has prompted us to look into the dumpster fire to see which funds have been particularly feeling the pinch, and which have defied the trend and gained new DFM buyers since 2018. 

Four UK equity funds are tied with the biggest drop in DFM ownership since we created our database in 2018. They have all lost a net of four DFM backers.

The first is Liontrust's giant Special Situations fund, which was owned by 11 allocators in 2018 and is owned by seven now. 

The Ninety One UK Alpha fund is now owned by five DFMs while JO Hambro UK Opportunities is now held by just one.

But spare a thought for Lazard UK Omega which has been sold by four DFMs and is now owned by none. 

Henry Dixon's Man GLG UK Undervalued Assets fund dropped from the portfolios of three of the allocators we cover during that period, to now appear in four of the portfolios we cover. 

Dixon's fund is the archetypal deep value mandate and as such it may not be a surprise to see it fall somewhat from favour during a period when growth was in vogue.

But the story is less clear cut with the Liontrust product, which has more of a growth focus. 

Two of the sellers were in the second half of 2022, and one in the first quarter of 2021. 

Nor has performance been a particular issue. The £4.8bn fund was top quartile in 2020 and 2021, and is top quartile on a five year view. 

Although the top 10 holdings are mostly large cap, a hint as to what might be raising allocators' collective eyebrow is the stonking overweight to industrials.

Liontrust has an exposure to industrials of 28 per cent. This compares to the 16 per cent average for the IA UK All Companies sector and the 11.5 per cent for the FTSE All Share.

The funds which have performed best over the past year or so all have overweights to consumer products - notably top performer Ninety One UK Special Situations which has an exposure of 45 per cent to this sector.

In pandemic times, industrial exposure was probably the place to be, but the shift in consumer demand towards services probably hampers the sector now. 

As for the Ninety One UK Alpha fund, the bulk of those sales happened at the tail end of 2022, coinciding with the announcement that manager Simon Brazier was leaving.  

Regular readers might notice that the funds which have seen the biggest drops are all among the most popular UK equity funds in our database.

Liontrust Special Situations and Ninety One UK Alpha remain near the top of the pile but it suggests DFMs are looking at less obvious fund picks for their UK equity allocations.

Incidentally the most popular UK equity fund remains Lindsell Train UK Equity - it has seen a net sale of one and is now held by nine DFMs.

In the next edition of Asset Allocator we will look at the UK equity funds that have gained ground among DFMs since 2018. Trust us: there have been some.

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