Looking at the downloads from the OBSR Fund Ratings website over the last quarter, we could not help but notice that the most popular funds are managed by well-known, long-standing fund managers; many of whom have presided over their funds for a long time, particularly in the context of retail fund managers.
1 Invesco Perpetual High Income
2 Invesco Perpetual Corporate Bond
3 Invesco Perpetual Monthly Income Plus
4 First State Asia Pacific Leaders
5 Invesco Perpetual Income
6 Artemis Income
7 Old Mutual Corporate Bond
8 M&G Recovery
9 M&G Global Basics
10 Newton Managed
In these volatile and uncertain times advisers appear to be seeking fund managers who have the benefit of experience and who have proven themselves following difficult times. Neil Woodford’s Invesco Perpetual High Income fund continues to head the list, with his Income fund also in the top 5, and he has managed these funds since October 1988 and October 1990 respectively. He has seen a number of cycles and this coupled with strong relative performance appears to be valued by advisers.
In a similar vein, the Invesco Perpetual Corporate Bond fund is one of the older funds in its sector and its managers Paul Reed and Paul Causer have run the fund since its launch in July 1995. The two Pauls also manage the Invesco Perpetual Monthly Income Plus fund, which was launched in February 1999 to take advantage of the evolving corporate bond market and particularly the high yield market.
The trend continues with First State’s Asia Pacific Leaders fund, and although this fund has only been in existence since December 2003, its sister fund the Asia Pacific fund has been managed by Angus Tulloch and his team since June 1988. The team has delivered despite torrid times in the past thanks to its thorough and consistent approach.
Adrian Frost, Artemis Income Fund, is another highly regarded income fund manager who has a huge amount of experience at both Morgan Grenfell and latterly Artemis.
Another climber in these tables is the M&G Recovery fund. Manager Tom Dobell has been the lead manager since March 2000 but the fund itself has been in existence since 1969 and Dobell is only the third manager in its history.
The consistency of approach and what it has delivered clearly counts in its favour and is being acknowledged by advisers.
Finally the Newton Managed fund has been run using Newton’s thematic long-term thematic approach since April 1990, albeit the current lead manager, Nick Clay, has been at the helm since August 2004.
In the multi-manager downloads the most popular group by some distance has been Jupiter Merlin. John Chatfeild-Roberts and his team have been managing the funds since May 1997, initially at Lazard and subsequently at Jupiter following their acquisition of the fund of funds business in 2001. With a high degree of turnover in multi-manager teams over recent years it is not surprising to see intermediaries favouring those with experience and who have shown loyalty to their investors.
1 Jupiter Merlin
4 New Star
5 Credit Suisse
Richard Romer-Lee is research director at Old Broad Street Research