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Star performer

Over the past two, three, five and 10 years, UK equity income funds have outperformed UK growth funds and only over the past year have growth funds marginally outperformed the average income fund.

Over 10 years, for example, the average UK growth fund has increased by 115 per cent against the average income fund by 156 per cent (to July 1, 2006).

Within that sector, the outstanding performer is George Luckcraft, manager of Axa Framlington equity income fund. Over the past three years, a few months after he took over the management of the fund, it has gone up by over 97 per cent, 37 per cent higher than the average fund in that sector.

Furthermore, dividends have increased from 13.6p in 2002 to 17.9p in 2005. Unlike many equity income fund managers, he finds excellent opportunities in smaller and mid-cap stocks. Some of his top 10 holdings include JKX Oil and Gas, Raymarine, Speedy Hire and Pendragon.

But he does hold some bigger companies such as HSBC, BP, Royal Bank of Scotland and BT. On the whole, he is avoiding most retail shares. The bigger sectors he favours include industrials at 23 per cent, financials at 22 per cent and consumer services at around 12 per cent.

Luckcraft has recently made purchases of the Novae Group, the Lloyds Insurance company, where the prospects look good on the back of rising premium rates after last year’s hurricanes.

He has also bought Vectura, which has a very interesting pipeline of drugs and a history of achieving profitable licensing deals.

This fund, the size of which is still under 1bn, is still easily manageable and should continue to perform among the best. It is an all-weather fund and ideal as an investment for all investors, whether they want growth or income.

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