Baillie Gifford was top of the trusts in 2020, as it delivered the three top performing investment companies of the year.
Figures from the Association of Investment Companies showed it paid to look east as the Pacific Horizon trust bagged the number one spot, returning 115 per cent in share price terms over the first 11 months of the year.
Baillie Gifford’s US Growth trust scooped second place, with an 102 per cent return, while its flagship Scottish Mortgage trust’s 90 per cent return got the bronze position.
Other fund houses were among the top performers, with JP Morgan’s Asian trusts, the popular Fidelity China Special Solutions and Fostrow Capital’s niche Biotech Growth trust among the top 10.
|Investment company||AIC sector||Year to date (share price return %)|
Overall weighted average ex. VCTs
|Pacific Horizon||Asia Pacific||115.2|
|Baillie Gifford US Growth||North America||102.9|
|JPMorgan China Growth & Income||Country Specialist: Asia Pacific ex Japan||76.2|
|Pershing Square Holdings||Hedge Funds||73.5|
|Allianz Technology Trust||Technology & Media||68.2|
|Fidelity China Special Situations||Country Specialist: Asia Pacific ex Japan||66.6|
|Edinburgh Worldwide||Global Smaller Companies||63.1|
|Biotech Growth||Biotechnology & Healthcare||56.6|
James Budden, director of marketing and distribution at Baillie Gifford, said: “Performance has been very strong for the majority of our managed trusts this year, based on operational progress at many of our holdings.
“Scottish Mortgage in particular has seen a spectacular rise in its share price since March.”
Mr Budden said this “made sense” when examining the effects of lockdown measures, which had triggered more e-commerce, food delivery, online entertainment, online communication and an emphasis on healthcare — all themes well represented within the Baillie Gifford trusts.
He added: “We are long-term in our approach and are busy considering more enduring themes around industries embracing the digital revolution, the rise of the middle class in Asia, technology evolving from the screen to the street, the potential of climate change technologies and rapid change in healthcare.
“[These] should provide exciting growth opportunities for investment in the future.”
Sector-wise, hedge funds topped the charts with a share price total return of 56 per cent over the first 11 months of the year. The hedge funds sector includes Pershing Square Holdings, the fifth best-performing investment company and recently promoted to the FTSE 100.
Technology and media achieved the second-highest return of 42 per cent. Such stocks have soared this year amid the crisis, when the lockdown restrictions which hamstrung other sectors boosted company returns.
Global was not far behind, returning 36 per cent, boosted primarily by the same US tech stocks, while Japan’s smaller companies and wider sector made up the top five.
Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director of the Association of Investment Companies, said: “Despite the beginning of the year being a very challenging time for markets, investment companies have bounced back strongly from the March crash.
“Hedge funds have performed remarkably well, with volatile markets being helpful to many of their strategies.”
Ms Brodie-Smith added that while this year’s top performers told “an interesting story”, it was important to remember that investment was “about the long-term”.
She said: “Building a balanced portfolio of investments which suits needs, rather than just focusing on today’s winners, is what’s most important.”