Top 10 most popular investment funds - March 2017

Money Observer Rated Fund Fundsmith Equity topped the table of most-bought funds by customers of Money Observer's sister company Interactive Investor, for the twelfth consecutive month in March. 

The fund has over half of its assets in US equities and is managed by highly regarded investor Terry Smith. Ever since it toppled CF Woodford Equity Income, it has been the most popular fund with Interactive Investor customers. 

Neil Woodford's eponymous open-ended fund, CF Woodford Equity Income – which launched in June 2014 – took second place once again. The UK equity income fund gained 2.3 per cent over one month to 31 March and 12.6 per cent over one year.

Woodford hopes that sectors such as biotech, which has underperformed recently, will come back into favour in due course; thanks to his longstanding popularity as a manager the fund remains hugely popular despite underperforming the Investment Association's UK equity Income sector, which gained 15.1 per cent over one year.

There was just one new entrant in the top 10 most-bought funds in March and it may not come as a surprise that it was Neil Woodford’s new fund: CF Woodford Income Focus. It sits in the Specialist sector and was the eighth most-bought fund in March.

The new fund, which was launched last month, aims to deliver an income of 5p per share for every £1 invested in its first full calendar year in 2018. From then onwards Woodford will aim to deliver modest sustainable growth in per share income

Four out of the top 10 most-bought funds were passive choices. The third place in the list was once again taken by Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equity, which focuses on North American equities, UK equities and European ex UK equities as well as global bonds.

Money Observer Rated Fund Lindsell Train Global Equity climbed one spot to be fourth on the list. Jointly managed by Michael Lindsell and Nick Train since its launch in March 2011, the fund returned 6.6 per cent over six months to 31 March and 26.8 per cent over one year.

It was closely followed by Jupiter India, which went up by four spots to fifth place. The fund gained 7.9 per cent over the last month and is up by an astonishing 136.7 per cent over the last three years.

With this year’s Brexit negotiations, uncertainty around Trump’s policies, and looming elections across Europe, investors have been turning to emerging market funds. In India specifically, new tax reforms are seen as a positive development for the economy.

Artemis Global Income remained in the sixth slot. It benefits from a global spread, with one third of its holdings in US equities, about 13 per cent in UK equities and 8 per cent in German equities, and is currently yielding around 3 per cent. 

Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% Equity dropped two spots to take the seventh position in March’s list. The ninth position was also taken by a passive fund, HSBC FTSE All Share Index, which went up one slot and gained 8.6 over three months.  

And finally, the tenth place was taken by another tracker, Vanguard FTSE Developed World ex UK, which dropped three places. It has a focus specifically on the developed economies, including 62 per cent in US equities and 10 per cent in Japanese equities.

RankFundIA SectorChange since FebruaryTotal return 1m to 31 MarchTotal return 3yr to 28 February (%)
1Fundsmith EquityGlobal--2.295.6
2CF Woodford Equity IncomeUK equity income--2.3n/a
3Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% EquityMixed Investment 40%-85% Share--0.742.2
4Lindsell Train Global EquityGlobal+12.372.4
5Jupiter IndiaSpecialist+47.9136.7
6Artemis Global IncomeGlobal Equity Income--1.651.2
7Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% EquityGlobal-30.849.2
8CF Woodford Income FocusSpecialistNew entryn/an/a
9HSBC FTSE All Share IndexFTSE All Share+11.324.1
10Vanguard FTSE Developed World ex UKFTSE Developed ex Uk-30.660.5

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