The Troy Trojan Income fund has made a strong come-back, after a challenging 2017, to be rated by Sanlam as the best all-rounder within the UK equity income sector in 2018.
Sanlam's study, which has been running for more than 30 years, is a quantitative assessment that reviews and monitors the performance of all UK equity income funds over a six-month period.
The study categorises these funds into White List, Grey List, and Black List.
The White List is the select group of funds that have established their ability over five years to produce superior total returns while the Grey List can be a temporary home for a manager with an out-of-favour style or an early warning signal for a fund in decline.
The Black List is for consistent underperformers and may indicate the need for remedial action.
The Troy Trojan Income fund, which is run by Francis Brooke, jumped 37 positions to reach the top position on the prestigious White List of Sanlam UK's half-yearly study.
The Axa Framlington Monthly Income fund, run by George Luckraft, maintained its second place on the White List thanks to its high-ranking dividend yield, consistent performance and moderate volatility, which contributed to its performance.
The Miton UK Multi Cap Income fund also appeared in an unchanged position in third, having remained in the top three funds for several years.
In fourth place, the Franklin UK Equity Income fund, made a strong reappearance, bouncing up from the Grey List.
Philip Smeaton, chief investment officer at Sanlam UK, said: "As a result of sector concentration, traditional equity income funds that have tended to allocate disproportionately to sectors with the highest dividend yields may contain a hidden risk for investors.
"Most managers of those funds appearing at the top of our study have the ability to vary the size of their underlying positions according to where they see the best opportunities. Such a flexible approach enables managers to respond to prevailing market conditions over the short to medium term."
Other new entrants include the Santander Equity Income fund and the Santander Enhanced Income fund.
Scott Gallacher, chartered financial planner for Leicester-based Rowley Turton, said: "The Sanlam Income Study is one of a number of tools we use when selecting investment funds.
"We have been using the Miton UK Multi Cap Income fund in particular from launch as we know the fund management team very well."
The Marlborough Multi Cap Income Fund, managed by Siddarth Lall, had a poor 2018 in terms of calendar performance, and ranked in 23rd position.
This meant it appeared on the Grey List, which is a temporary home for a manager with an out-of-favour style or an early warning signal for a fund in decline.
Others on this list included Kevin Murphy and Nick Kirrage's Schroder Income fund, which dropped 24 positions, despite being ranked first in terms of performance in 2018, but high volatility and total dividend income for the period adversely impacted the fund.