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10 April 2016

The top 10 equity fund management groups

By James Yardley

Knowing which brands are among the world's most elite helps us make good buying decisions (or at least aspire to them!). If you're after a diamond ring, you think Tiffany's; a luxury watch, Rolex; a dream car, Aston Martin. But if you're choosing investments … where do you start?

We put together an annual index that might help.

In the same way that Tiffany's, Rolex and Aston Martin have earned their reputations through years of creating high quality products, we look at fund management groups whose funds have consistently delivered returns above their peers over a five year period.

The goal is to highlight the groups that have a proven track record of good stock-picking and are able to reliably repeat their process. The results are in for our Fund Management Equity Index 2016.

The index specifically analyses data for equity funds (keep a look out for our bonds index later in the year) and covers the majority of actively-managed equity funds recognised by the Investment Association. It compares them with their sector average. (You can read more about the methodology here.)

Unicorn tops the list second year running

The top ten is a mix of groups from boutiques to global businesses. Key to their success was not their size or dominance, but a real focus on fund management.

For example, Unicorn tops the list for the second year running as a boutique, with average sector outperformance of 35.5% across its four funds. A larger group like Invesco Perpetual, though, which had 85% of their 26 qualifying funds outperformed by an average of 15% is also impressive.

Rank 2016 Rank 2015 Fund group 5 yr ave. outperformance % of funds outperforming No. of funds
1 1 Unicorn Asset Management 35.51% 100.00% 4
2 2 Stewart Investors 28.32% 100.00% 7
3 4 Old Mutual Global Investors 23.38% 82.35% 17
4 10 T Rowe Price 20.17% 100.00% 10
5 16 River and Mercantile 19.82% 60.00% 5
6 14 Invesco Perpetual 15.13% 84.62% 26
7 15 Artemis Fund Managers 14.30% 87.50% 8
8 8 Rathbone 14.19% 100.00% 4
9 9 SVM Asset Management 13.86% 100.00% 5
10 6 Baillie Gifford 13.74% 86.67% 15


















Data source FE Analytics. All cumulative statistics % change bid to bid, net income reinvested, five years to 31/12/2015.

View the full results and more commentary Read more about the top five groups

Diamonds are forever; funds are for the long-term

You might not treasure your holding in a UK All Companies fund quite as much as you treasure your (or your partner's) diamond ring, but it should be something you think about hanging on to for the reasonably long term, at least.

And while in good times, identifying funds that are delivering positive returns and beating their index benchmarks is a (relatively) easy task, in turbulent times, the choice can be less clear.

The reality is that very few investments will deliver income or capital growth year-in, year-out forever. That's why the general wisdom when investing in equities is to go in for the long haul – so a few dips here and there will hopefully even out to positive returns.

So our index looks at outperformance above the average over five years. Even a good fund sometimes falls, but what you really want want to know is which funds and fund management groups can consistently do better than their peers – even if this sometimes mean losing less than everyone else.

When you look at this kind of data over five years, it can be one pretty good indicator of quality. Of course, you still need to look at a number of data to make your decision, but knowing the best performing brands should definitely help.

And looking back to last year's index, it's reassuring to note nine out of ten of last year's top ten fund groups went on to outperform again over the following 12 months.

After all, making a good investment decision today might just make buying that dream car that little bit easier tomorrow (or perhaps a few more days down the track!).

Take a look at our full report

Where to next?


Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. James's views are his own and do not constitute financial advice.

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©2016 FundCalibre Ltd. All Rights Reserved. The information, data, analyses, and opinions contained herein (1) include the proprietary information of FundCalibre, (2) may not be copied or redistributed without prior permission, (3) do not constitute investment advice offered by FundCalibre, (4) are provided solely for informational purposes and therefore are not an offer to buy or sell a security, and (5) are not warranted to be correct, complete, or accurate. FundCalibre, shall not be responsible for any trading decisions, damages, or other losses resulting from, or related to, this information, data, analyses, or opinions or their use.