Ten of the best: managers at the top of their peer groups

Finding the best fund managers is both a science and an art form: you need experience and gut feel when you interview a manager about their process and philosophy, and you need the data to tell you whether they have been consistent or merely lucky.

It’s not easy, but when you find those managers, they can make a huge difference to your finances. So, when selecting our Elite Rated funds, we are looking for very best active managers in each sector – that’s why funds are either Elite or they are not: there is no grading and no room for ‘average’ or mediocre.

With that in mind, we decided to have a look at which Elite Rated managers have beaten every single one of their peers since they started managing their funds.

Here are ten of the best, starting with the longest tenure first*

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
Marlborough Special SituationsGiles Hargreaves 2817.61%482.83%1 Jul 19981/23

Marlborough Special Situations fund has a small and mid-cap focus and is managed by the astute and pragmatic stock picker Giles Hargreave. The process has held up well across a wide range of market conditions and the long-term track record of this fund is exemplary. Eustace Santa Barbara became co-manager in 2014 and will take over the fund next year.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
European Opportunities trustAlexander Darwall727.56%311.32%20 Nov 20001/6

European Opportunities Trust has a bias towards medium and larger companies. Alexander has run this trust since launch and has developed a consistent investment process that has a record of success in different economic environments.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
First State Greater China Growth Martin Lau949.49%463.41%1 Dec 20031/8

First State Greater China Growth invests in well-managed businesses with good corporate governance in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Martin has consistently delivered positive performance and demand for the fund was so fierce that it was closed to new investments for four years.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
Schroder Asian Alpha Plus Matthew Dobbs221.98%105.22%30 Nov 20071/53

Schroder Asian Alpha Plus manager Matthew Dobbs is highly experienced and able to utilise Schroder’s vast analyst resource in the region. He has a flexible mandate with few formal constraints, but the fund will typically have a bias towards larger companies.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
Jupiter Strategic BondAriel Bezalel132.63%75.46%2 June 20081/40

Jupiter Strategic Bond is a flexible ‘go-anywhere’ fund that allows the manager considerable freedom to exploit opportunities across global bond markets – which he does very actively. Ariel is quite cautious in his approach and tries to limit potential losses in tough markets.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
Guinness Global Equity IncomeMatthew Page & Dr. Ian Mortimer156.36%95.38%31 Dec 20101/18

Guinness Global Equity Income fund typically consists of around 35 equal-weighted stocks, which the managers aim to hold for three to five years. The managers have substantial freedom to entirely avoid countries and sectors they don’t like.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
MI Chelverton UK Equity GrowthJames Baker133.54%26.79%20 Oct 20141/222

MI Chelverton UK Equity Growth has a comprehensive and disciplined process. Manager James Baker has over 30 years of equity market experience, specialising for all of his career in UK small and medium-sized company stocks to which this fund has a bias.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
Baillie Gifford Japanese Smaller CompaniesPraveen Kumar111.21%77.2%1 Dec 20151/7

Baillie Gifford are renowned growth managers, and employ this philosophy on the exciting, but high risk area, of Japanese smaller company investing. Praveen looks specifically for innovative names that have the potential to be future industry leaders.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
LF Miton European OpportunitiesCarlos Moreno & Thomas Brown131.43%41.57%14 Dec 20151/105

This fund takes a multi-cap approach to the Europe equity market, with a bias towards medium-sized companies. The mangers look for quality companies, with strong brands or clear competitive advantages.

FundManagerTenure performanceSector averageManaged SinceRank
LF Gresham House UK Multi Cap IncomeKen Wotton20.58%-11.25%30 Jun 20171/84

LF Gresham House UK Multi Cap Income is a concentrated multi-cap income fund with a bias towards smaller companies. It has a strong process and benefits from Ken’s unrivalled expertise in the small-cap space.

*All performance data sourced from FE Analytics: total returns in sterling, from manager start date to 2 June 2020. Sector averages are the fund or trust’s IA or IT sector.

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.