The 10 most-bought funds, trusts and shares in April

by Jemma Jackson from interactive investor |

Appetite for UK equity wanes as active strategies resurge in the top 10 most-bought funds in April. 

Sentiment towards the UK stock market waned among interactive investor customers in April, as funds with a UK focus slipped off the top 10 fund purchases list on the platform – down from four in March.

Passive funds Vanguard FTSE UK All Share Index, HSBC FTSE 100 Index, Fidelity Index UK Fund and Vanguard FTSE 100 Index Unit Trust have all exited the table in what was a tumultuous month for the UK stock market.

Dzmitry Lipski, ii's Head of Fund Research, says: “It is interesting to see that funds with a UK focus have slipped off the top 10 most-purchased funds list. There has been a rally in global markets since the sharp market downturn in late February owing to Covid-19, but the UK market has not risen at the same pace as the US, for example. This is largely because the US stock market is packed with tech stocks that have performed well in recent history, while the FTSE 100 has suffered from the poor performances of services, commodity and oil stocks which make up a significant percentage of the index.

“Active managers earn their corn by attempting to beat their benchmark market index by cherry-picking stocks and making the call to stick or twist to take advantage of perceived inefficiencies in the market. The current market environment offers them the opportunity to do exactly this, and customers of interactive investor have flocked to some of the most renowned actively managed solutions in the industry, with Fundsmith Equity and Scottish Mortgage investment trust (LSE:SMT) in a familiar position at the top of the table. In truth, our most successful investors have a blend of active and passive strategies with their well-diversified portfolio.”

Getting active

There was a renewed appetite for actively managed funds in April, accounting for half of the top 10 list of most-bought funds on interactive investor.

While Fundsmith Equity and Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equity remain in the top two spots respectively, four new entries in the line-up are all actively managed funds.

Entering the list in fifth place is the Baillie Gifford American, with L&G Global Technology Index, Polar Capital Global Technology and Baillie Gifford Global Discovery taking the seventh, ninth and tenth spots, respectively. Interestingly, there were no tech funds in March, with the appearance of two tech funds in April.

Meanwhile, Lindsell Train Global Equity, has climbed four positions to third, while Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% Equity has slipped three places to sixth and Vanguard US Equity Index fell by the same amount to eighth. Vanguard LifeStrategy 60% Equity remains rooted in fourth position. 

Investment trusts

It is more of the same when it comes to investment trusts, with only one new addition in April – Worldwide Healthcare in seventh position. 

Scottish Mortgage remains rooted at the top of the table – boasting a record as the most purchased investment trust on the interactive investor platform month in, month out since February 2014, except once. Polar Capital Technology Trust has jumped five places into third, ahead of City of London (LSE:CTY) which slips down a place to third and Alliance Trust (LSE:ATST), another trust to have fallen down the rankings, but a single position in fourth.

Also in the rankings is Allianz Technology (LSE:ATT) which climbed five positions to fifth, Finsbury Growth & Income (LSE:FGT) which fell two places into sixth and F&C Investment Trust remains rooted in ninth. Monks makes the cut in 10th place, down from sixth in March.

Direct equities

There are three new entries in the list of top 10 most-bought direct equities. 

Biotech firm Novacyt (LSE:NCYT), a widely popular stock among interactive investor customers since the coronavirus outbreak, has returned to the list in fourth position having missed out in March. Tullow Oil (LSE:TLW) and Avacta Group (LSE:AVCT) also make the cut in sixth and eight positions.

Lloyds Banking Group (LSE:LLOY), Barclays (LSE:BARC) and BP (LSE:BP.) make the top three respectively.

Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at ii, says: “UK blue chips that pay a dividend are still highly sought after by our customers. But the choice of companies has narrowed dramatically as managements have moved to conserve cash amid the pandemic.

“Regulatory pressure on the banks to cancel their dividends and assist lending to customers has added further to the challenge. Income investors are still not out of the woods and the dividend drought might get worse before it gets better - it all hinges on how the pandemic plays out.”

Most-bought funds, investment trusts and equities on interactive investor in April 2020 (in rank order)

   Fund       Investment trust       Equity   
FUNDSMITH EQUITY     SCOTTISH MORTGAGE     LLOYDS BANKING GROUP   
VANGUARD LIFESTRATEGY 80% EQUITY     POLAR CAPITAL TECHNOLOGY TRUST    BARCLAYS   
LINDSELL TRAIN GLOBAL EQUITY     CITY OF LONDON     BP   
VANGUARD LIFESTRATEGY 60% EQUITY     ALLIANCE TRUST    NOVACYT   
BAILLIE GIFFORD AMERICAN     ALLIANZ TECHNOLOGY    ROYAL DUTCH SHELL   
VANGUARD LIFESTRATEGY 100% EQUITY     FINSBURY GROWTH & INCOME    TULLOW OIL   
L&G GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY INDEX TRUST     WORLDWIDE HEALTHCARE    INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES GROUP   
VANGUARD US EQUITY INDEX     SMITHSON     AVACTA GROUP   
POLAR CAPITAL GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY     F&C INVESTMENT TRUST    AVIVA   
BAILLIE GIFFORD GLOBAL DISCOVERY     MONKS    LEGAL & GENERAL

These articles are provided for information purposes only. Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.

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