The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has published a list of the top-performing investment trust sectors over the 18 years since Isas were introduced. A specialist sector came top: biotechnology & healthcare went up by an astounding 1,313 per cent over the time period.
The Asia Pacific sector came second, with 1,280 per cent. The sector was followed by the global emerging markets sector, which is up 805 per cent. However, the performance data also shows that the global emerging markets sector had a very volatile time over the last five years.
Also in the top five is the Asia Pacific excluding Japan sector, which went up by 794 per cent.
Smaller companies have also produced some strong returns, with European smaller companies up 625 per cent, followed by North American smaller companies up by 556 per cent and UK smaller companies returning 520 per cent.
Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director at the AIC, says: 'Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes 'long term' - in fact our own investor confidence research this year found that 8 per cent of active investors consider three to five years a "long-term" investment horizon.'
In contrast, the AIC defines long-term investments to be at least five years and preferably longer.
She continues: 'There's no doubt that 18 years is a long-term investment and it was Warren Buffett who said that "successful investing takes time, discipline and patience".
'It's clear that investors in some of the top-performing investment company sectors have been rewarded for their patience over the long term.
'In some sectors investors have needed bags of patience, as demonstrated by the volatility of the global emerging markets sector in recent years, but their investment has paid off over the long term.
'Of course, there's no telling which sector will be topping the tables in the future, so investors need to focus on a diversified portfolio for the long term.'
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