As one of the most frequently quoted investment experts in the UK national press, including The Times and The Telegraph, I will show you how to pick the best performing funds to invest now. That is very different from simply opting for the best performing funds over the last 5 or 10 years.
In fact I would invest in hardly any of the top performing funds over the last 5 or 10 years and neither should you
Funds are inconsistent and you should invest in funds that suit the current economic and investment environment. I will show you how I successfully identify the best funds to invest in with an increased chance of performing well going forward.
First of all...the funds to avoid
Before I move on to the best funds to invest in it's also important to be aware of the funds to avoid. Unfortunately, there are a number of popular funds that should be avoided as they will hit your returns. You can download a useful list of these funds which the research calls 'dog funds'. So feel free to download the guide and use it as a reference point.
Best performing investment funds to invest in
The 10 Top Performing Fund Managers
Fund managers seldom outperform the market in the short term and almost never over the long term. Yet that doesn't mean you should just invest in index trackers or Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). There is still a place for picking the best active investment fund managers. However, the top performing investment fund managers historically won't outperform the market or their peers all of the time. The table in the next section of this article emphasises the impact on the returns of your misplaced loyalty to even the best fund managers. The key is to invest in the best funds when the investment environment suits them and to ditch them when it doesn't, in favour of their peers most likely to outperform. You should NEVER invest your money with a fund manager for the long term.
The table below shows the 10 top performing fund managers over the last five years (last updated June 2021). I analysed the returns of thousands of fund managers versus the level of risk they took with investors' money to arrive at the final table. The best investment fund managers do not gamble with investors' money, instead, they invest it strategically to minimise any losses. The Sharpe Ratio is a measure of the level of excess return the fund manager earns for the extra risk he/she has taken. The higher the figure the better.
Main fund managed
VT Downing Unique Opportunities
Baillie Gifford Long Term Global Growth Investment
Richard Power / Dominic Weller
FP Octopus UK Micro Cap Growth / FP Octopus UK Multi Cap Income
Baillie Gifford Emerging Markets Leading Companies
MI Chelverton UK Equity Growth
Baillie Gifford American / Baillie Gifford Global Stewardship
Carlos Moreno / Thomas Brown
Premier Miton European Opportunities
Matthew Tonge / Victoria Stevens
Liontrust UK Smaller Companies / Liontrust UK Micro Cap
AXA Framlington Global Technology
Janus Henderson Global Technology Leaders
How to pick the best performing funds to invest in now
The key to successful investing is to pick the funds most likely to outperform their peers in the future. That is not the same as picking the funds or fund managers with the best performance over the last 5 or 10 years.
By way of example if you had picked the 10 best performing funds over 10 years leading up to June 2016 (from the UK All Companies sector) and then invested in them over the next 5 years you'd have been in for a surprise. As the table below shows, over the next 5 years you would have been better off investing in alternative funds within the same sector.
Performance rank June 2006 to June 2016 (out of 132)
Performance rank June 2016 to June 2021 (out of 183)
Franklin UK Mid Cap
ASI UK Unconstrained Equity
Royal London UK Mid-Cap Growth
Liontrust Special Situations
BMO UK Mid-Cap
Threadneedle UK Mid 250
Marlborough Multi-Cap Growth
SVM UK Growth
Schroder UK Opportunities
So how can you choose the best funds to invest in right now? The world of fund management brainwashes investors into thinking that you have to buy and hold a fund manager or fund. Yet why should you? The evidence overwhelmingly shows that no fund manager outperforms in every market condition. The fact that a fund manager or fund might top a table of the best performing managers (or funds) over 5 years is just a coincidence of the timeframe used. Use another timeframe (as shown above) and they won't come anywhere near the top. This is true of every fund, even the most popular investment funds.
So if you can't rely on long term performance tables to pick funds that are more likely to perform well in the future then how can you do it?
The key to investing is to choose the best funds to invest in for the current environment and to use a process that screens out the noise and emotional headlines and focuses on the fundamentals. It's a very simple process that I explain in a short email series How to become a successful DIY investor. In the emails I show you:
The most important investment lesson you will ever learn based on over 100 years of research and experience
The simple and easy to use tool that will help you beat the market
The investment process fund managers want to keep to themselves.
How to know which funds to buy and which to sell, in minutes.
I have used the technique to help investors outperform the market and professional fund managers using only a few minutes a month, using 80-20 Investor. You can read their reviews of 80-20 Investor as well as see the performance in the widget at the foot of this article. I also successfully run £50,000 of my own money live on the site to show how simple it is. 80-20 Investor helps you to simply decide the funds to invest in via your existing fund platform. Find out more about how the service works and take advantage of a 30 day FREE trial.
The top-performing funds over 5 years and 10 years
The tables below show the best performing funds to invest in over 5 years and 10 years. All these funds can be held in a Stocks and Shares ISA or a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). The percentage return shown is the total return figures which assumes all income and dividends are reinvested. The funds are grouped by fund sector so you can see the best performing funds for the most popular fund sectors.
While the funds below would have been the best funds to invest in over the last 10 years and 5 years, within their respective sectors, there is no evidence that they will continue to perform well as I explained earlier. In fact, taking such a long term view masks long periods of underperformance as I explained in the section above, titled How to pick the best performing funds to invest in now.
The data below shows the 5 and 10 year performance periods ending 14th June 2021.
What is an ISA? An ISA is a savings or investment account where your investment can grow totally tax-free. You...
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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Funds invest in shares, bonds, and other financial instruments and are by their nature speculative and can be volatile. You should never invest more than you can safely afford to lose. The value of your investment can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you originally invested.
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