Just 92 open-ended funds have positive returns in each of the past three years
Only 92 open-ended funds managed to produce positive returns in each of the three discrete years up to March 2002. This equates to just 5% of the 2,000 funds available in the market, according to Lipper statistics.
Some 40 of these funds fell into bond and cash fund sectors, leaving just 2.5% of pure equity funds delivering positive returns during all three periods.
Robert Burdett, joint head of multi-manager services at Credit Suisse Asset Management, said that given the fact many sectors delivered negative returns for two out of the three discrete years, the low percentage of funds achieving positive performance was not surprising.
The UK equity income sector saw the greatest number of funds delivering positive growth, with 14 funds generating positive returns for each of the three discrete years, on a bid-to-bid with net income reinvested basis, while the sector itself also produced positive growth in all three years.
Among the top-performing funds were Liontrust First Income, managed by Jeremy Lang, Rathbone Income, managed by Carl Stick and Hugh Priestley, and Schroder Income, managed by Humphrey van der Klugt.
Over the discrete period 30 March 2001 to 29 March 2002, against a sector average growth of 0.82%, Liontrust First Income returned 22.98%, while Schroder Income and Rathbone Income produced 13.04% and 11.47% respectively.
For the discrete periods 31 March 2000 to 29 March 2001 and 31 March 1999 to 29 March 2000, the UK equity income sector returned 2.74% and 3.5% respectively. Against this, Liontrust First Income grew by 12.32% and 3.83%, Schroder Income posted 11.97% and 3.2% and Rathbone Income delivered 21.99% and 10.5%.
Some 11 funds in the UK All Companies sector produced positive returns over the three discrete periods, compared to the sector which was down in 2001 and 2000 but up by 15.01% in 1999.
Against a sector average of -4.13%, the top-performing fund in 2001 was the £373.3m Schroder Institutional Recovery portfolio, managed by Ben Whitmore, which returned 15.24%.
In 2000, Anthony Bolton's Fidelity Special Situations fund generated growth of 24.27% and GAM UK Diversified managed by Andrew Green returned 37.1%, compared to the sector average return of -10.14%.
These funds also did well in 1999, a positive year for the sector as a whole, returning an average of 26.08%.
However, the top fund that year was Rathbone Special Situations, run by Carl Stick, which returned 66.88%.
Only three North American funds were able to generate positive returns in 2001, 2000 and 1999. These were Fidelity American, formerly managed by John Muresianu, GAM North American Growth, run by Gordon Grender, and Tana Focke's Smith & Williamson American fund.
Against sector falls of -1.46% in 2001 and -16.14% in 2000, GAM North American Growth grew by 16.76% and 5.71%. Fidelity American returned 13.92% and 1.45%, while Focke's fund generated 1.47% and 1.54% respectively.
A better year for the US sector was 1999, with the sector average reaching 26.08%. In this environment, Fidelity American and Smith & Williamson Growth both underperformed, returning 18.91% and 17.62%, while Grender's GAM fund grew by 34.54%.
Only one North American smaller companies portfolio produced positive returns over the three discrete years: Ira Unschuld's Schroder US Smaller Companies fund.
Compared to sector returns of 7.52% in 2001 and -24.52% in 2000, Unschuld delivered growth of 22.19% and 19.07% respectively. While he did not outperform the sector in 1999, which returned on average 70.56%, he still produced a 43.73% gain.
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