Jason Hollands comments on the best-selling funds for clients using Tilney Bestinvest’s Online Investment Service in May.
1. CF Woodford Equity Income
The Woodford Equity Income fund which is about to reach its first anniversary has been consistently popular with investors, so much so that it has featured on our top ten best-selling funds list every month since its launch last year. Faithful fans of the UK’s best known fund managers have been rewarded with strong outperformance of the FTSE All Share Index since launch.
2. Threadneedle European Select
Europe has been one of the markets we have been most positive about for several months and this fund has been one of our top-rated funds. Manager Dave Dudding runs a relatively concentrated portfolio of 45-60 mostly large high-quality global growth companies with sustainable and recurring revenues (rather than very cyclical businesses) that have strong franchises and consistent, above-average growth.
Healthcare is a major theme in the portfolio, accounting for 19.9% of the fund, with companies held including chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer AG and Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo-Nordisk. Household names such as cosmetics brand L’Oreal and brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, whose brands include iconic ‘American’ lagers Budweiser and Michelob, are also large holdings in the fund.
3. AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities
Veteran fund manager Nigel Thomas has been managing money for three decades and during that time has built one of the strongest track records in the UK All Companies sector. Thomas targets companies with quality management teams offering above average growth rates. Although he is a stock-picker, Thomas incorporates an awareness of the economic backdrop in his stock selection. We believe this pragmatic approach to selecting growth opportunities combined with an instinct for value sets him apart.
Top holdings in the fund range from TV network ITV, international supplier of specialist plastic, fibre and foam products Essentra Plc and financial services group Prudential Plc.
4. Threadneedle UK Equity Income
Threadneedle duo Leigh Harrison and Richard Colwell have been consistent income fund managers, taking a fairly balanced approach investing predominantly in large and mid-cap UK equities, and typically holding between 45 and 60 companies. The fund is managed on a total return basis, with stocks held both for their dividend and growth potential. Top holdings in the fund include Astrazeneca, Imperial Tobacco Group and GlaxoSmithKline.
5. Tilney Bestinvest Aggressive Growth
The Tilney Bestinvest Multi-asset Portfolios reflect our strongest investment ideas, with each typically holding around 20 funds selected by our research team. This fund has a high exposure to equities at 74%, over half of which is outside of the UK. Around a quarter of the portfolio is diversified across bonds, commercial property and targeted absolute return funds.
6. Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS)
The latest industry data suggests record inflows into targeted absolute return funds. At over £25 billion in size, Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS) has been a huge success story for Standard Life Investments and a fund we have backed for some time. The fund is an umbrella for around 30 underlying individual investment strategies, utilising equities, bonds and currencies with the overall goal of aiming to generate positive returns over the medium term regardless of market conditions with low volatility, although there are no guarantees. Despite the recent emergence of some challengers with not dissimilar approaches, GARS continues to enjoy strong support from our clients.
7. First State Asia Pacific Leaders
The First State Stewart Asia Pacific team, headed by veteran fund manager Angus Tulloch, has a fairly conservative investment style focused on high quality companies in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan).
The fund currently has a significant overweight position in India, at 24% of the portfolio, which is undergoing a large reform programme and is conversely very underweight China (5.6%) which has seen a slowdown and where concerns persistent about the scale of credit issued in recent years.
8. Liontrust Special Situations
We believe Liontrust Special Situations fund could be considered as a UK fund for ‘all-seasons’, having historically delivered consistent outperformance with lower volatility than the FTSE All Share Index. Underpinning the fund is a clear and distinctive investment approach which the managers Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh describe as the ‘Economic Advantage’ investment process; focusing on companies that have durable characteristics that the managers believe will sustain above-average profits for longer than expected. This means the fund avoids the sorts of businesses whose earnings are very sensitive to changes in the economic climate.
The sorts of companies that the managers favour typically have either ownership of intellectual property (e.g. patents), strong or captive distribution channels that provide a barrier to potential competitors or significant recurring business. Top holdings in the fund include multinational contract foodservice, cleaning, property management and support services company Compass Group, Advanced Computer Software Group Plc, healthcare company Emis Group Plc and multinational publishing and information company Reed Elsevier plc.
9. HSBC American Index
Very few active fund managers have managed to beat the US stock market in recent years. When even legendary investor Warren Buffet has admitted that he would put his wife’s cash into a low cost S&P 500 index tracker fund, it is perhaps little wonder that HSBC American Index has proven a consistently popular choice for our clients. The fund has on-going charges of just 0.18%.
10. Tilney Bestinvest Growth
The second of Tilney Bestinvest’s Multi-Asset Portfolios to feature on the list, the Growth fund is 64% invested in equities with a greater bias towards the UK than the Tilney Bestinvest Aggressive Growth fund mentioned above.
At a glance: The best-selling funds for clients using Tilney Bestinvest’s Online Investment Service in May 2015: