Drawdown 

Most popular funds since pension freedoms revealed

Most popular funds since pension freedoms revealed

Terry Smith's flagship fund was the most popular among savers who entered income drawdown since the advent of pension freedoms in 2015.

To mark the fourth anniversary of pension freedoms, which falls on Saturday April 6, AJ Bell revealed which were the most popular funds bought by its clients who went into drawdown.

Mr Smith's Fundsmith Equity fund was the most popular, followed by the Scottish Mortgage investment trust and the RIT Capital trust, which is run by Lord Rothschild.

AJ Bell's analysis showed a £100,000 portfolio split equally across the top 10 most purchased funds would now be worth £122,910 if withdrawals of £5,000 a year were made.

It would be worth £147,386 if no withdrawals were made.

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: "The good news is that so far, pension freedom investors have benefited from strong stock market returns and even better active fund selection, in most cases generating a golden combination of income and capital preservation."

But he said the disparity between the best and worst performers in the list highlighted how important investment strategy was.

One the one hand, Fundsmith Equity, which is the top performer in the Global sector, turned £100,000 into £165,100 if a £5,000 annual income was taken.

But the weakest performer, the City of London investment trust, turned the same amount of money into £96,170 - 42 per cent less.

Investment trusts made up the majority of the list as six of the 10 most purchased funds were closed ended.

According to AJ Bell, investment trusts produced the highest natural income without having to sell any investments.

Over the four years since April 2015, a portfolio that was split across the 10 most purchased funds would have delivered a natural yield of £9,108.

That same portfolio would now be worth £136,710, the analysis found.

Mr Selby added: "Investment trusts can deliver great total returns too. The most popular trust – and second most popular collective investment pick overall – was Scottish Mortgage, which has turned £100,000 into £161,110 over the past four years, even with £5,000 withdrawn each year. 

"In reality, investors are unlikely to invest in just one fund but splitting a £100,000 income drawdown portfolio equally across the 10 most popular funds would also have proved a very successful investment strategy.

"After taking out £5,000 a year, you’d still be left with a portfolio worth £122,910, almost 23 per cent higher than four years ago."

Martin Bamford, chartered financial planner at Informed Choice, said: "Selecting a sustainable withdrawal rate in retirement is an important decision for investors to make.

"Academic studies show us that 5 per cent is an unrealistic withdrawal rate for pensioners who want to reach the end of their life without running out of money.

"Taking a punt on one investment fund that might or might not deliver a required level of long-term returns is a very risky retirement strategy.

"We would encourage investors to instead diversify across different investment assets and to monitor their retirement income strategy, adjusting it depending on actual experience. The next four years are unlikely to repeat the performance of the past four years."