Investors piled more than £23bn into BlackRock throughout 2020, making the mammoth manager the most popular fund house of the year.
Figures from Morningstar estimate that £23.5bn was invested in BlackRock’s UK-based funds, nearly four times the amount pumped into the next most popular asset manager, Link Group.
Industry giants Vanguard, Royal London and Baillie Gifford appeared in the top 10, but smaller, specialist managers such as Liontrust and Allianz Global Investors were also popular this year.
|Most popular fund houses of 2020|
|Fund group||Inflows in 2020||Total assets|
|9||Smith & Williamson||2,034||13,643|
Morningstar said there was strong allocation to multi-asset funds throughout 2020, with JP Morgan, Royal London and Baillie Gifford all growing their assets with these types of funds.
Bhavik Parekh, manager research analyst at Morningstar, added: “Even within categories where there is no differentiation between styles, assets flowed from value to growth strategies.
“Baillie Gifford was one the chief beneficiaries of this trend, and it had one of its best years on record in terms of net subscriptions.”
In terms of asset classes, equity markets ruled the roost as investors were incentivised by markets that had suddenly become around 30 per cent less expensive.
Of the total £35.7bn added to UK-based funds throughout the year, nearly £25bn was pumped into the stock markets and private equity.
Within equities, categories with growth biases — such as US and global large-caps — were the most popular. Meanwhile, the UK equity categories, overweight with value stocks, were among the least.
Mr Parekh said: “It was a wild ride in 2020, and the financial markets were no different.
“Two of the overriding themes in 2020 were the popularity of growth style equity and sustainable vehicles.
“A combination of increased investor awareness of sustainability issues as well as moves by pension companies to invest more sustainably led to £11.4bn being added to these funds.”
Invesco was the least popular fund house. Investors pulled £7.8bn from the value-oriented asset manager throughout 2020, accounting for nearly a quarter of its assets under management.
Other big names to appear among the least popular fund managers included M&G, Jupiter and Artemis.
|Least popular fund houses of 2020|
|Fund group||Estimated inflows in 2020||Total assets|
|9||First Sentier Investors||-1,430||14,938|
Mr Parekh said: “Following a poor 2019, Invesco had another bad year in 2020, with net outflows totalling £7.8bn.
“Almost half of that figure was due to consistent outflows from its largest fund, Invesco Global Targeted Returns. It sits in the alternative–multi strategy category, the year's least favoured category.”
A large part of the outflows from State Street involved a previously announced move by Scottish Widows to transfer a chunk of its investment to BlackRock, while BNY Mellon said the figures did not take into account flows into segregated mandates or those into its sustainable iterations.
Ruffer said its funds served many big institutional clients and were therefore used to managing "both large inflows and outflows".
The Ruffer spokesperson added: "Our focus is on delivering good all-weather performance, and our flagship funds returned around 10 to 12 per cent in 2020’s volatile markets.”