Since its creation in 2008, the absolute return sector has been a bone of contention for intermediaries.
Last year more than half of the funds in the IMA Absolute Return sector produced a negative return, failing to deliver upon their investment objective of producing an absolute return in any market conditions.
However, despite the negative connotations attached to the sector there are a number of diamonds beneath the rough.
On a two year view, 35 of the 49 funds have produced a positive return, giving the sector an average return of 3.88%, according to Morningstar.
Five absolute return funds weathering the storm
When equity markets corrected last summer in response to the eurozone crisis escalating, the average absolute return fund returned 0.52% between June and September, while in stark contrast the FTSE 100 shed 12.9%.
This did not stop investors pulling a record amount of £122m out of the sector in August, which is the worst monthly outflow the peer group has experienced since its creation in April 2008.
Here Investment Week names the top five performing strategies over the past two years, which have substantially beaten swings in the stock market through adopting market neutral positions.
1. CF Odey UK Absolute Return: 32%
The £245m fund, headed up by James Hanbury, has benefitted from adopting both long and synthetic short positions across the UK equity space.
The fund has long positions in Sky Deutschland, Sports Direct and Travis Perkins, which have all been positive contributors to performance, following a spate of earnings upgrades.
Currently the portfolio is short Euro-Bund futures and UK government bonds.
2. Cazenove Absolute UK Dynamic: 24.3%
Paul Marriage and John Warren's bias towards mid and small-cap UK stocks has paid off over the past two years.
When launched in September 2009, the fund got off to a tough start. Performance detracted from a wave of outflows following Neil Pegrum's departure from the firm, forcing the manager to sell a long book of illiquid assets to meet redemptions.
However, performance has turned around over the past two years, putting it second out of 49 in the sector.
The duo's top three long positions at the end of April were Perform Group, John Menzies and Vitec Group.
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