10 most-popular funds - February 2018

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10 most-popular funds – February 2018

Interactive investor rated fund Fundsmith Equity once again took the top position in the table of most-bought funds. The fund is managed by highly regarded investor Terry Smith, and it has over half of its assets in US equities such as Microsoft (MSFT) and PayPal (PYPL).

Lindsell Train Global Equity, another 2018 Rated Fund, went up by two places to take second spot on the list. Jointly managed by Michael Lindsell and Nick Train, the fund has returned 6.1% over the past six months to the end of February, despite the market falls earlier in the month, and 22% over one year.

It was followed by 2018 Rated Fund Legg Mason IF Japan Equity in third place. Managed by Tokyo-based veteran Hideo Shiozumi, the fund focuses on high-growth businesses successfully exploiting the structural changes taking place in Japan. It has 27% of its holdings in healthcare and 26% in industrials. It returned 41% over one year and has returned an astonishing 161.4% over three years.

Passive tracker Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equity went up by two places to become the fourth most popular fund in February. This was despite disappointing returns over one and three months and one-year gains of just 3%. The tracker focuses on North American equities, UK equities and European ex UK equities as well as global bonds.

Baillie Gifford Greater China was fifth, slipping from second place last month. After facing fears of a hard landing, the Chinese economy remained resilient last year, and the country's GDP is expected to grow by some 6% this year.

Going up by three spots, Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% Equity came sixth in the list. The tracker returned 3.6% over one year and 35.9% over three years.

Jupiter India, an interactive investor 2018 Rated Fund run by Avinash Vazirani, one of the UK's most experienced Indian equity investors, went down by two spots to seventh place.

The fund has underperformed over the short term and shed 9.4% over the last six months, but gained 35% over the last three years. India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies driven by urbanisation, with almost 70% of the population aged under 35 - a fact helping to shape the manager's stock-picking approach.

The third tracker fund of the list, Vanguard LifeStrategy 60% Equity, came eighth in the list. It has been rising up and down the list over the last months.

A 2018 Rated Fund, Baillie Gifford Japanese Smaller Companies came ninth - further evidence of the fact that investors continue to feel positive about the prospects for Japan. The country was an investor's favourite last year, and valuations continue to look cheap compared to the developed markets of the US and UK.

Investor optimism has also been boosted by Japan's low unemployment rate, and the fact that GDP has expanded for six straight quarters - the longest sustained bout of growth since before the global financial crisis.

Henderson Global Technology went down by three places to tenth on the list. With 80% of its holdings in the US, where most technological innovation comes from, the fund's holdings include Facebook (FB), Microsoft, Alphabet (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL), which were the main drivers of US growth last year. It returned 21% over one year, and 80.2% over three years.

Henderson China Opportunities dropped out of the top ten list in February to make way for the Vanguard LifeStrategy 60% Equity fund.

This article was originally published in our sister magazine Money Observer. Click here to subscribe.

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