With official figures showing Britain is finally out of recession, it may be tempting to think that investing will be an easier ride this year. But the 0.1% economic growth in the last quarter of 2009 shouldn't fool you into thinking the worst is over.
Many investors who held their nerve last year when the markets hit rock bottom were handsomely rewarded by the rally in the second half of 2009. Comparatively, plump returns may be harder to find this year.
To help ferret them out we asked a panel of highly regarded independent financial advisers (IFAs), including Mark Dampier from Hargreaves Lansdown, Darius McDermott from Chelsea Financial Services and Jennifer Storrow of Gee and Co, to recommend their top fund picks for 2010.
From their answers, we've put together 50 favourite funds to suit different investors' needs.
Emerging markets were the success story of 2009, with the Investment Management Association global emerging markets sector gaining 58% over the year.
Many IFAs recommend clients increase their emerging markets exposure to keep in line with its increasing percentage of global GDP (almost one third by the end of last year).
Income seekers were troubled by low interest rates and slashed dividends last year. This year, however, they could do worse than M&G, Schroder and Invesco funds, which are mentioned by several of our experts in the income sector.
A couple of our experts also suggest using a FTSE All-Share tracker fund for broad core exposure without the high management charges - HSBC's (HSBA) tracker is seen as a good low cost option.
Specialist funds, when used sparingly, can play a crucial role in any portfolio, providing potential for high returns, although not without added risk.
M&G Property Portfolio and Jupiter Financial Opportunities are two of the funds recommended by our advisers to spice up your portfolio, but all specialist funds should be handled with care and investors need to be prepared for ups as well as downs.
We also asked our panel for some pointers on unloved sectors, and the funds within them that might exceed general expectations in 2010. Property and technology were both highlighted, with global smaller companies and North America as alternatives.
This article was taken from the March 2010 edition of Money Observer