Fund buy lists are helping investors to avoid overpriced 'closet tracker' products but the quality of such recommendations varies significantly, specialists have suggested.
The report said around third of UK equity funds could be classed as closet trackers. However, analysis of products recommended by D2C buy lists, ratings agencies, discretionary fund managers and adviser lists found that fund recommendations appeared to point investors towards products offering better value for money.
"Researched equity funds tend to have higher active share and lower ongoing charges," said the study.
However Graham Bentley, managing director of consultancy firm gbi2, which carried out the research with Fundscape, noted a significant variance in the quality of different lists.
"The importance of research in fund selection is undeniable, but there are significant differences in the quality of the research processes we reviewed," he said.
"Tight budgets mean managers need to know which researchers to engage with and who to ignore."
The report analysed 48 lists best buy lists using seven weighted factors over one, three, five and 10 years. It found the top three best buys lists were Bestinvest's Best of Breed, Investment Adviser's 100 Club and Isa Ltd's Growth Portfolio.
Mr Bentley also reiterated findings from last year, noting: "We see funds that aren't on the lists that should be".
The research also found that such 'gatekeepers' control around 70 per cent of platform flows.
The fund group with the most appearances on such lists was Fidelity, whose funds featured 243 times. Schroders was second with 233 appearances, followed by Old Mutual with 220.
The fund with the most appearances was Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders, on 29, followed by Woodford Equity Income, Fundsmith Equity, Jupiter European and Schroder Tokyo, all with 23 picks.