Fund House of the Year 2019

  • Learn about the best perfoming fund houses over the past year
  • Understand how this performance was achieved
  • Be able to describe the main headwinds facing investors

The similarities between the two periods end there, because the 12 months to the end of April 2015 proved a much better phase for stock markets and risk assets than the past year. Fidelity was buoyed in the latter period by its US, Asian and global equity funds in particular.

Crucially, the company can also point to its position at the top of Table 2 as evidence that it has consistently beaten rivals across multiple asset classes. Its funds’ average sector decile of four (on a scale where one represents the top 10 per cent, and 10 indicates the bottom 10 per cent) is the highest since the 3.8 figure achieved by BNY Mellon in 2016. 

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Russell Lancaster, the firm’s head of intermediary sales UK, says of its performance: “I would put our success down to three factors: the way we draw on our strong active management heritage to offer both attractive growth opportunities and good downside protection in volatile markets; the ongoing strength of our proprietary investment research coverage, where our clients benefit from the insights of more than 180 analysts globally; and our wide and diverse universe of active funds.”

The volatility seen over 2018-19 has meant a rapid turnaround for Fidelity, which did not make Table 1 nor Table 2 in 2018. New names are also visible in the mid and small categories: Morgan Stanley and Vanguard top Table 1 and Table 2, respectively, in the middle category. The latter does so by virtue of its multi-asset funds – none of its other products are eligible for this survey.

The leading smaller firm will be a familiar name to most intermediaries, but is making its debut appearance in our study. Terry Smith’s Fundsmith meets the entry requirements for Table 1 and Table 2 for the first time because it now has at least two funds eligible for inclusion. Fundsmith Equity has been joined by a Sustainable Equity variant that achieved a 12-month track record last November.

In general, repeat inclusions are slightly thinner on the ground this year than last. In Table 1, only Janus Henderson, Royal London Asset Management and Columbia Threadneedle return in the large investment category. Among the mid-sized groups, only Baillie Gifford, Polar Capital and T Rowe Price were present last year. Sanford DeLand – the team behind the UK Buffettology fund – and Lindsell Train complete the list of returning fund firms.

Consistency improves slightly when considering the best companies by sector decile. Henderson, RLAM and Threadneedle again keep their places from last year, as do BlackRock and Axa Investment Managers. Baillie Gifford also returns, as does Liontrust, in the mid-sized category. Of the smallest firms, Sanford DeLand and Lindsell Train are still present, and Seneca also makes the list for a second consecutive year.