Baillie Gifford overtook Morgan Stanley to claim the top spot on FundCalibre's latest Fund Management Equity Index 2021.
Figures published by FundCalibre, which ranked outperformance in equity investing over a five-year period, found three-time winner Morgan Stanley had been pushed into second place this year.
Baillie Gifford’s rise to first place was boosted by Baillie Gifford American, identified by FundCalibre as the best performing fund of the year returning 121.84 per cent - 105.67 per cent more than its average peer.
The data found a further four Baillie Gifford funds outperformed their sector average by 50 per cent or more.
Darius McDermott, managing director of FundCalibre, said agility, flexibility and good stock picking skills were key in 2020.
"While the level of outperformance may drop, it is still highly likely the outperformance will remain."
Mr McDermott said Baillie Gifford had the cheapest charges of any of the companies in the survey, which mattered when they compounded over time.
He added: "Having a lower charge really helps performance as well as demonstrating a really good attitude of putting the client first."
FundCalibre's top ten fund groups 2021
Source: FundCalibre’s Fund Management Equity Index 2021
The index compares sector averages over a five-year period and fund groups must have a minimum of four qualifying funds to be included in the data.
The latest index welcomed newcomers into its top ten including FSSA, Matthews Asia, JP Morgan, Legg Mason Martin Currie and the newly combined group Premier Miton.
FundCalibre said these firms had made "huge improvements in performance" and much of their outperformance came from the dominance of growth styles and investment in "Covid winners rather than Covid losers".