Best In Class 

Best in Class: Guinness Global Equity Income

Best in Class: Guinness Global Equity Income

It is nine years since interest rates were cut to 'emergency low records'.

If an investor had left £1,000 in a bog-standard savings account over that period, it would be worth just £1,042.60 today, according to data from FE Analytics (total returns in sterling from 5 March 2009 to 28 February 2018, looking at the Bank of England base rate for cash returns and IA UK Equity Income sector average).

It also marks nine years since the UK equity market last bottomed.

If an investor had been brave and put £1,000 in the average UK equity income fund instead, and enjoyed almost a decade of a bull market, their pot of money would be worth £2,959.40*. Of this, £677.97 was paid in income.

Of course, making the jump from cash to shares is a big one and not a leap everyone can stomach, but many 'income refugees' have moved further up the risk scale over the intervening years, first to bonds and then to equities.

Having experienced its first significant correction since the Brexit vote, the UK stockmarket is still down about 7 per cent at time of writing, from its high.

And, with Brexit negotiations ongoing, the outlook is uncertain.

So, as we get into the final few weeks of the tax year, diversifying your income stream further may be worth considering.

The average global equity income fund has turned £1,000 into £3,020.80 over the past nine years, providing around £799.55 in income payments, according to FE Analytics, based on total returns in sterling from 31 December 2010 to 28 February 2018.

And dividend growth around the globe is looking strong. The latest Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index highlighted the fact that 11 out of 41 countries posted record payouts last year and it expects this trend to continue.

A fund that merits consideration in this space is Guinness Global Equity Income.

Launched at the end of 2010, it is a little different from many of its peers in that it equally weights the holdings in its portfolio, which typically number around 35.  

This is a key differentiator for this fund and prevents it from taking on too much stock-specific risk. It also stops the fund from accumulating a tail of tiny positions that take up the managers’ time but have little impact on performance.

It is positioned to preserve capital in falling markets – an attribute that will be attractive to many investors with markets still high. Indeed, since its launch the fund has a good track record in market drawdowns, falling by a third less than the global benchmark. 

The investment mindset is very much that of buy and hold, with most shares held for three to five years.

To achieve this, the managers Matthew Page and Ian Mortimer first choose the right companies. Rather than filtering by dividend yield they look instead for growing, rather than high, income, which gives them a greater chance of finding high conviction holdings.