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The best equity fund management groups

10 April 2016

Unicorn tops the list second year running

For the second year running, Unicorn Asset Management have topped FundCalibre's Fund Management Equity Index, with their average fund outperforming its peers by 35.5% over the five years to 31 December 2015*.

Nine out of last year's top ten also continued to outperform the average over the following 12 months.

FundCalibre's Fund Management Equity Index 2016:

  1. The top 10, results in brief (this page)
  2. What does the index tell us? (this page)
  3. More about the top five, biggest gainers and biggest fallers
  4. Risk-adjusted results
  5. Download the full list
  6. View the methodology

Top 10 fund groups

Rank 2016 Rank 2015 Fund group 5 yr ave. outperformance % of funds outperforming No. of funds
1 1 Unicorn Asset Management 35.51% 100.00% 4
2 2 Stewart Investors 28.32% 100.00% 7
3 4 Old Mutual Global Investors 23.38% 82.35% 17
4 10 T Rowe Price 20.17% 100.00% 10
5 16 River and Mercantile 19.82% 60.00% 5
6 14 Invesco Perpetual 15.13% 84.62% 26
7 15 Artemis Fund Managers 14.30% 87.50% 8
8 8 Rathbone 14.19% 100.00% 4
9 9 SVM Asset Management 13.86% 100.00% 5
10 6 Baillie Gifford 13.74% 86.67% 15

Data source FE Analytics. All cumulative statistics % change bid to bid, net income reinvested, five years to 31/12/2015.
Download the full list

What does the index tell us?

The index shows a significant gap in performance between the best and the worst fund groups, and highlights those that consistently deliver outstanding performance for their clients.

  • The average fund's outperformance from the top group, Unicorn, was 50% higher than the average fund's results from the bottom group, NFU Mutual.
  • Growth fund groups (e.g. Baillie Gifford, AXA Framlington) and small-cap specialists (e.g. Unicorn, Marlborough) have performed well over the past five years, helped by a strong rally in global equities and growth stocks.
  • Value funds and fund groups with a value bias (e.g. M&G Investments, Aberdeen Asset Management) have struggled over the past five years.
  • Fund managers that focus exclusively on active fund management do best – meaning, they don't also do investment banking, insurance, retail banking or passive investing.
  • Retail banks typically perform worst (e.g. Halifax, HSBC and Santander) and most were in the bottom quartile of the index.

Fund group highlights

As you can see in the table above, some fund groups delivered outperformance across all, or the majority of, their funds, while other fund groups saw a lower percentage of their total funds outperform.

This means that in some cases, fund groups' average performance was significantly assisted by particularly strong performance among a few of their funds. And vice versa – some fund groups' average performance was dragged down by one or two funds' particularly poor returns.

For example, among the large groups with at least 8 funds, JOHCM, Artemis, Baillie Gifford, Aviva Investors, Schroder and Invesco Perpetual all saw at least 85% of their funds outperform. But, in terms of average fund performance, JOHCM was one of the biggest fallers in ranking from last year, down 18 places in the index. Read more on JOHCM.

  • The biggest improvers in ranking from last year were Aviva (+25), Alliance Trust Investments (+18), Man GLG (+15), Newton (+15) and Barclays (+13)
  • Five fund groups had every qualifying fund outperform over the past five years: Unicorn, Stewart Investors, T Rowe Price, Rathbone and SVM
  • The biggest fallers were JOHCM (-18), Scottish Widows HIMFL (-11), Aberdeen (-11) and Lazard (-10)

Read more fund group highlights

How last year's top 10 fared

Nine out of last year's top ten groups went on to outperform over the following 12 months by an average of 3.5%.

68% of funds within these fund groups also continued to outperform over the year.

Rank 2015 Fund group Rank 2016 Ave. outperformance
past 12 mths
% of funds outperforming
past 12 mths
1 Unicorn Asset Management 1 6.45% 75.00%
2 Stewart Investors 2 3.45% 100.00%
3 Marlborough (selected) - 7.86% 75.00%
4 Old Mutual 3 2.99% 56.25%
5 JOHCM 23 -3.89% 25.00%
6 Baillie Gifford 10 4.17% 75.00%
7 Liontrust 11 1.67% 57.14%
8 Rathbone 8 5.78% 100.00%
9 SVM Asset Management 9 10.56% 100.00%
10 T Rowe Price 4 4.13% 66.67%

*A bit about the index

FundCalibre's Fund Management Equity Index looks at the majority of actively managed equity funds recognised by the Investment Association and compares them with their sector averages over a five year timeframe.

Each fund group's funds are then collected together to calculate the group's average fund performance. Fund groups must have a minimum of four qualifying funds to be included in the index.

Read more on the methodology

View our Fund Management Equity Index 2015 and our Fund Management Bond Index 2015.

Go to the next page in this report (1/4)

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns. Please note the Fund Management Equity Index does not constitute investment advice. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of any investment you should seek professional advice. An appearance of any fund on this index is not an indication it should be bought, sold or switched.

This is a purely statistical chart. All cumulative statistics % change bid to bid, net income reinvested, five years to 31/12/2015. Source FE Analytics. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, FundCalibre takes no responsibility for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies therein.