Talking PointJun 10 2020

Advisers stick with value funds despite poor performance

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Advisers stick with value funds despite poor performance
ByDavid Thorpe

Advisers have largely continued to invest in value funds, despite those funds' chronic underperformance in recent years. 

Value funds have generally underperformed growth in recent years, with the IA UK Value sector underperfoming the growth sector by 30 per cent in the three years to May 22, according to data from FE Analytics. 

The pressure on value funds has been exacerbated by the negative publicity around the collapse of the investment empire of Neil Woodford, a value investor, and the underperformance of the Invesco Income and High Income funds, run by Mark Barnett, who subsequently left the firm.

Value funds tend to perform better when interest rates are rising, inflation is rising and the pace of economic growth is picking up, conditions which have not existed in the UK for some time.

But advisers are largely sticking with the value funds they own, according to the latest FTAdviser poll.

See the poll results below: 

The data shows 60 per cent of advisers intend to keep their present allocation to value funds in place over the past year, while 30 per cent of the advisers who responded to the poll. 

Ben Yearsley, investment director at Fairview Investments says that in the UK many of the traditional value stocks are owned by investors because they tend to pay large dividends, but with many such businesses unwilling or unable to this year, he feels value stocks in the UK will continue to struggle until there is some normality around dividends.

He says: "When looking at value you do need to distinguish between sectors such as financials which admittedly make probably the largest value segment and everything else.

"Financials are going to find it very hard making headway over the next decade, in my view, as interest rates are simply not going up. Even in the face of higher inflation I can’t see central banks pulling the trigger in any meaningful way.

"Having said that, I do think some of these stocks look astonishingly cheap today and could easily have a short term rebound; it’s just a longer term bull market for value seems harder to see occurring."

M Yearsley added: "In the UK we have a different problem in that value was obviously synonymous with dividends and many of those have been cut or deferred. So that probably rules out a rebound for 2020 as companies won’t be rushing back to the dividend register this year."