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Dampier picks Neptune and SLI as top two

Russia and China funds both returned over 50%.

Neptune and Standard Life Investments have been rated as the fund management groups of last year by Hargreaves Lansdown’s Mark Dampier.

Neptune had the two top-performing funds in 2006, with its Russia & Greater Russia and China funds topping the pile.

Both funds are run by Neptune managing director and chief investment officer Robin Geffen.

The Russia fund returned 56.74 per cent over the year and the China fund 52.27 per cent.

But Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Dampier also praises SLI for the strong performance of its UK equity funds, notably its UK smaller companies, ethical and UK equity high-income portfolios.

He says: “The two groups are from the opposite end of the spectrum and show that although boutiques can deliver fantastic returns, people should not just be focusing on them.”

European smaller companies ended the year as the top-performing fund sector, up by 33.28 per cent on average.

But five of the top 10 funds came from the diverse specialist sector, according to Financial Express. The specialist sector ended up the ninth best-performing sector up 16.26 per cent, dragged down largely by poor-performing healthcare, biotechnology and several specialist single-country funds.

Aberdeen property share, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership European real estate and Premier portfolio pan European property also all made the top 10.

SLI UK smaller companies, up by 43.47 per cent in seventh place, and Old Mutual UK select smaller companies, up by 38.14 per cent, were the only UK equity funds to make the top 10.

The worst-performing sectors were Japanese smaller companies, which saw a negative return of -32.13 per cent and Japan which produced a fall of 14.03 per cent.

Kohn Cougar managing director Roddy Kohn says: “Neptune have to be there as a group of the year but New Star also deserve credit for consistently trying to add value through outperformance.”

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