One of the lesser known of the top-performing fund managers is Allchurches Investment Management, the investment arm of the Ecclesiastical Group.
The team, headed by Sue Round and Robin Hepworth, have been together for many years and have produced outstanding results. In a recent survey by Morning Star, they were the joint top investment management group along with Global Asset Management, some way ahead of their competitors. This rating is as a result of risk-adjusted performance over a three-year period within its Morning Star category.
Not only are the Allchurches funds good performers within their sectors but Isa investors can choose for about 0.25 per cent of the management charge to be donated annually to a charity from a list including Barnardo's, Sir Peter Scott's Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, the Children's Society and the British Vascular Foundation.
The funds are marketed through IFAs on normal initial and trail commission terms and, furthermore, a large part of the Ecclesiastical's profits go to charities. Over £45m has been donated to charities since 1978 – an amazing amount for a small company. This is the highest percentage of profits for any corporate giver, according to the Directory of Social Change.
The funds I like best in the current market environment are Allchurches higher income as an investment for trustees and those who require income and Allchurches European growth, an area where I believe there is strong potential for capital gains as the European stockmarkets recover.
I believe that the consistently solid performance of the Allchurches team is of the type which will make most investors very happy over the next five years or so.