Money Observer Fund Awards 2019: the winners

The Woodford fallout has cast a shadow over the fund industry, but the worth of active management is evidenced in these awards, says Andrew Pitts.

The 2019 roll of honour 

The cult of the “star manager” has several thousand fewer disciples these days. The “gating” of LF Woodford Equity Income fund, leaving private investors unable to access their investments, clearly not only impacts the reputation of fallen star Neil Woodford but risks tarring other high-profile actively managed funds, and those who run them, with the same brush.

Nonetheless, actively managed funds play a crucial investment role, whether in producing long-term growth to fund a decent retirement income, or in generating a secure or rising income from an accumulated nest-egg. These goals can be achieved via, or in tandem with, low-cost index-tracking funds, but the potential for carefully chosen, actively managed funds to generate market-beating returns should not be ignored.

Money Observer does not claim to have the recipe to a secret sauce for market-beating returns, year in, year out. It is highly unusual to find a fund manager who can achieve that feat. But we certainly don’t recommend that investors jump on board funds that shoot to the top of the performance charts over short time periods.

The Money Observer Fund Awards aim to identify what we view as the crème de la crème – the select few that have pulled off a compelling combination of outstanding performance without taking excessive risk. That sometimes means placing funds with better performance behind others with a better risk-adjusted return, but it is an approach that sees many funds passing our stringent quality control checks from year to year. Some have made serial appearances on our awards podium. With close to 2,700 open-ended funds analysed in this year’s awards, such achievements deserve special applause.

This year they include Baillie Gifford American, CFP SDL UK Buffettology, Fundsmith Equity, JPM Asia Growth, L&G UK Property, Lindsell Train Japanese Equity, Rathbone Ethical Bond, Royal London Sterling Extra Yield Bond, Royal London Sustainable World and TM Cavendish Aim. We hope that readers have benefited financially from their achievements.

It is also refreshing to see that 20 of 33 award-winners in relevant categories have already been accorded 2019 Rated Funds status, while the investment trust equivalents of two other fund award-winners – JPM US Small Cap Growth and Janus Henderson European Smaller Companies – are Rated Funds.

To identify this year’s star performers, we asked data provider Morningstar to run not only performance numbers over periods of up to three years to 31 March 2019 but also the volatility and risk ratios we analyse to help determine our winners. The full methodology behind our awards can be found here.

The reputation of the UK fund management industry has taken a knock. The achievements of the funds we profile on the following pages may help to restore investors’ faith – and enhance the value of their portfolios.

The 2019 roll of honour

UK Growth winners

Best Larger Fund: CFP SDL UK Buffettology

Best Smaller Fund: Aberdeen Responsible UK Equity

Read more about the winners and highly commended funds here.

UK Equity Income winners

Best Larger Fund: Schroder Income

Best Smaller Fund: Investec UK Equity Income

Read more about the winners and highly commended funds here.

UK Smaller Companies winner

Best Fund: TM Cavendish Aim

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Global Growth winners

Best Larger Fund: T Rowe Price Global Focused Growth

Best Smaller Fund: BMO Sustainable Opportunities Global Equity

Read more about the winners and highly commended funds here.

Global Equity Income winner

Best Larger Fund: M&G Global Dividend

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Global Emerging Markets winner

Best Fund: Baillie Gifford Emerging Markets Growth

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

North America winner

Best Fund: JPM US Small Cap Growth

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Europe winner

Best Fund: LF Miton European Opportunities

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Japan winner

Best Fund: Baillie Gifford Japanese

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Asia Pacific winner

Best Fund: JPM Asia Growth

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Sterling Bonds winner

Best Fund: Royal London Sterling Extra Yield Bond

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Global Bonds winner

Best Fund: M&G Global Government Bond

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Mixed Asset Higher Risk winner

Best Fund: TB Wise Multi Asset Growth

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Mixed Asset Lower Risk winner

Best Fund: Royal London Sustainable Diversified

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

Volatility/Absolute Return winner

Best Fund: Smith & Williamson Defensive Growth

Read more about the winner and highly commended fund here.

UK Property winner

Best Fund: L&G UK Property

Read more about the winner here.

Global Property winner

Best Fund: Fidelity Global Property

Read more about the winner here.

Ethical/SRI winners

Best Equity Fund: JPM Asia Growth

Best Mixed Asset Fund: Royal London Sustainable World

Best Bond Fund: Rathbone Ethical Bond

Read more about the winners here.

Profiles of the award-winners were written by Jennifer Hill. Performance data and risk ratios provided by Morningstar. Chart data from FE Analytics. All data as at 31 March 2019. 

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