Marlborough Fund Manager 1-0 William Hill

Last weekend was a bad one for William Hill. While punters were celebrating Capri’s win in the final classic of 2017, the Doncaster St Leger, it has been reported as the bookie’s worst horse race result of the season.

Any investor following the St Leger’s day investment adage would not have been as lucky. The ‘sell in May and go away, don’t come back ‘till St Leger’s day’ saying dates back to a time when stock market traders spent most of the summer months away from their desks. As a consequence, there was less trading and any sell-offs were amplified.

However, looking back over the past 30 years or so, there is no evidence that investors have benefited from timing the market in this way.

Backing the fund winners

This year, the FTSE 100 and FTSE All Share were up 2.51% and 2.17% respectively over the period*, so it would have been a mistake to divest.

Elite Rated Marlborough UK Multi-Cap Growth was first past the post, beating all other funds in the UK All Companies sector. From 1 May 2017 to 18 September 2017 it returned 11.48%*. Elite Rated Standard Life Investments UK Ethical (5.31%*), Man GLG Undervalued Assets (5.17%*) and R&M UK Equity Long Term Recovery (4.93%*) also made it into the top 20 funds in the sector.

These days we can keep up with stock market developments 24/7, so while trading is slower and liquidity reduced in July and August, traders are general still ready to act quickly if necessary.

As we saw with Provident Financial recently, if there is a profit warning shares can still get hit, whether investors are at their desks or not. However, the beauty of investing in funds rather than stocks is that the impact of any such occurrence can be limited, as you are diversified across a number of holdings.

*FE Analytics, total returns in sterling from 1 May 2017 to 18 September 2017.

The views of the author and any people interviewed are their own and do not constitute financial advice. However the knowledge that professional analysts have analysed a fund or trust in depth before assigning them a rating can be a valuable additional filter for anyone looking to make their own decisions. Before you make any investment decision make sure you’re comfortable and fully understand the risks. If you invest in fund or trust make sure you know what specific risks they’re exposed to. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. Remember all investments can fall in value as well as rise, so you could make a loss.