2012 was a mixed year for markets, with developed market equities recovering from a summer sell-off to make marginal gains, while some segments of the property and bond markets outperformed.
Investors fared best if they opted for higher risk investments, with high yield bonds outperforming gilts - which returned very little to investors in 2012 - and smaller companies across the UK and Europe also leaving large-cap peers behind.
Taking the UK equity markets as a guide, the FTSE 100 only achieved gains of about 7% in total for 2012.
In comparison, the FTSE 250 gained 22% in 2012, climbing from 10,102 points to 12,359, and the FTSE All Share gained nearly 8.6%.
Revealed: the ten best funds of 2012
But which funds were able to exploit these moves successfully?
Below are the ten best performing funds from across the UK's IMA sectors last year.
1. Standard Life UK Equity Unconstrained - returned 44.3%
Run by Ed Legget, the £510m fund beat all comers last year as the manager's focus on mid-250 stocks helped deliver top returns.
Key plays for the fund included banking shares such as Lloyds, as well as European lender International Personal Finance, one of the ten best performing stocks of 2012.
2. Standard Life UK Equity Recovery (Inst) - returned 43.17%
Standard Life did the double last year as David Cumming's fund was the second best performer, vastly outstripping the UK All Companies sector average return of 16%.
The concentrated portfolio bet big on banks - Lloyds, RBS and Barclays all feature within its top four largest positions - while recovery stories like Dixons, another top stock for 2012, were also instrumental in delivering outperformance.
3. Fidelity UK Smaller Companies - returned 41.69%
Alex Wright, the experienced fund manager who has run the strategy since 2008 (under its institutional guise), has had a great year at the helm of the retail offering, delivering almost double the return of the average UK Smaller Companies fund.
4. Neptune UK Mid Cap - returned 41%
Mark Martin continues to impress investors in the £48m fund, delivering a gain far in excess of the FTSE 250, against which the fund is benchmarked.
A move away from energy and materials companies and instead focus on healthcare and consumer discretionary names has reaped big rewards for the relatively new manager.
5. JPM Turkey Equity - returned 40.42%
The €105m (£72m) fund run by Sonal Tanna and Oleg Biryulyov may not have featured on many radars last year, but nonetheless it remains one of the best performers of 2012.
The fund, a direct play on Turkey's equity market, shot up the rankings following a storming run for the country's leading stocks, with the iShares MSCI Turkey ETF returning around 60% last year.
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