I have always been a huge admirer of Nigel Thomas and George Luckraft, now at Framlington. They have both performed extremely well since they joined from ABN Amro.
They started managing Framlington funds in September 2002 and over the past year have produced outstanding results. For example, Luckraft's equity income fund has risen by 48 per cent, beating such popular funds as Artemis income, Credit Suisse income and Invesco Perpetual income.
Thomas's UK select opportunities fund has remained in the top decile of all UK funds, producing a return over one year of more than 61 per cent against a rise in the FTSE All Share index of around 27 per cent. Who would dream of investing in a tracker fund when they can invest in Thomas's fund?
With all the funds that Thomas has managed over the past 20 years or so, he has nearly always been among the top performers.
In today's stockmarket conditions, I prefer the UK select opportunities fund. While the fund invests in a mixture of smaller companies, mid-caps and bigger companies, Thomas is moving more into bigger companies and will be buying dollar-influenced stocks as he believes the dollar may have bottomed in the short term.
He particularly favours the natural resources sectors, especially mines and minerals, and this now accounts for around 16 per cent of the portfolio.
For income investors, I also like the equity income fund, which has around 40 per cent invested in smaller companies, 33 per cent in FTSE 100 companies and 23 per cent in FTSE 250 companies.
Both funds should remain near the top of their sectors and, while performance over the next year is unlikely to be as good as the last year, the funds should still give investors solid returns.