Just 36 per cent of the Adviser Fund Index panellists believe that past performance is very important when making their AFI portfolio recommendations. However, the skill of the fund manager is extremely important, according to 79 per cent of panellists.The 14 panellists polled in the first AFI mid-season questionnaire were asked to assess the importance of several factors within their fund selection process. The resources made available to fund managers are ranked as very important by half the respondents while 57 per cent say ongoing access to fund managers is very important. Only one of the 14 panellists says discounts provided by fund management groups on initial and annual charges are extremely important compared with 71 per cent of the panellists who say discounts are somewhat or not important. The skill of a fund manager, the manager’s track record and a fund’s track record are all deemed to be at least somewhat important by the 14 panellists. Asked whether the main element of performance of their AFI portfolio recommendations to date was driven by asset allocation or fund selection, 43 per cent say it was a combination of both. The remainder are split evenly between asset allocation and fund selection as the principal contributor to performance. The panellists were also asked to name the funds within their portfolio recommendations that have performed best and worst compared with their expectations since the inception of the AFIs in November 2004. UK equity funds are popular choices for the best-performing funds, with nine panellists identifying funds investing principally in British shares. Three panellists name Neil Woodford’s Invesco Perpetual income fund as having performed best. After a recent period of poor performance from Japanese equity funds, five respondents say funds investing in the region have fared worst out of all their portfolio recommendations. Three name Legg Mason Japan equity while two identify JPM Japan as the poorest performers. Almost two-thirds of panellists say they have included funds investing specifically in resources companies within their portfolio selections. Two panellists name First State global resources and JPM natural resources as the funds having performed best compared with their expectations. Three respondents include an additional factor that they deem as extremely important when going about the fund selection process. These are a top-down view, the in-house process and an adherence to the declared strategy. The AFI mid-season questionnaire was conducted between July 28 and August 15, 2006 and results are based on responses from 14 of the 18 panellists.