Interactive Investor

Best-performing funds and trusts year to date revealed

9th December 2021 11:38

Jemma Jackson from interactive investor

Commodities and frontier/emerging market strategies excel, but could new Covid variants throw a spanner in the works?

Commodities and frontier/emerging markets strategies have been among the biggest winners so far in 2021 (to 30 November) across both funds and investment trusts. The top-performing investment trusts outperformed the highest-returning funds, new analysis by interactive investor finds (see table below).

In the investment trust sector, two Vietnam-focused strategies made the top 10, along with a smattering of private equity. India featured in the top 10 for both funds and investment trusts.

In a year in which rising inflation, the tapering of government economic stimuli and Covid has fuelled market uncertainty, punctuated by an energy crisis, it is perhaps not surprising to see commodities/energy-related strategies topping the performance tables.

However, the broad recovery in commodity prices seen over 2021 is now under threat on a number of fronts, as ii’s Keith Bowman points out (see below). Not least the Omicron variant and increased global social restrictions over the winter months could pressure demand and prices.

But it was a niche investment trust, Geiger Counter (LSE:GCL), which has a relatively modest £59 million in assets under management, which was the stellar performer overall, returning 104% according to Morningstar data. The trust invests in companies involved in the exploration, development and production of uranium to supply the nuclear power industry.

That won’t be up everyone’s street, and it’s also worth being mindful that the share price saw negative returns in a couple of the last five calendar years – and it is always important to assess performance over a range of time frames.

The top-performing investment trust is more than double that of Schroder ISF Global Energy, the best-performing fund over the same period, returning 50%.

Two energy-focused portfolios and a frontier market strategy make up the top three in the list of best-performing funds in 2021 (to 30 November). The list excludes ETFs and ETPs.

Dzmitry Lipski, Head of Funds Research, interactive investor, says: “It has been a great year for commodities, which have been the second-best performing asset class this year (after bitcoin). Historically, investors turned to commodities as a source for portfolio diversification and hedge against rising levels of inflation. In fact, commodities have tended to be in a bear market for over a decade.

“More recently, there is improved sentiment towards the asset class on the back of structural long-term trends. These include economic recovery potential from the pandemic and inflation fears along with infrastructure spending and, hence, higher demand for materials. We added WisdomTree Enhanced Cmdty ETF to our Super 60 list in May this year as a low-cost option.

“But don’t let the top performers turn your head too much. Niche strategies should only ever be part of a well-balanced diversified portfolio.

Best-performing funds

Behind Schroder ISF Global Energy in second place was Goldman Sachs North America Energy & Energy Infrastructure Equity which returned 48%, ahead of T. Rowe Price Frontier Markets Equity and PIMCO GIS MLP & Energy Infrastructure Fund, which both returned 40% over the period.

VT De Lisle America, which targets attractive long-term return by investing primarily in equities in North America, makes up the top five, returning 36%.

Goldman Sachs India Equity (eighth position) is the only other frontier/emerging market strategy in the top 10, returning 33%.

Investment trusts

Commodities-focused investment trust Geiger Counter and Riverstone Energy (LSE:RSE) (returning 79%) rank one and two on the list of best-performing investment trusts.

Completing the top three is VietNam Holding (LSE:VNH) (returning 67%), which is one of two Vietnam-focused portfolio in the top 10 – the other Vietnam Enterprise (LSE:VEIL) (returning 55%) in fifth position. Ashoka India Equity (LSE:AIE) (returning 45%) is the other frontier/emerging markets strategy on the list, in eighth position.

Keith Bowman, Investment Analyst, interactive investor says: “The broad recovery in commodity prices seen over 2021 is now under threat on a number of fronts. The discovery of the Omicron virus and increased global social restrictions over the winter months could pressure demand and prices. Returns to working from home now overshadow the oil price, for example.

“The US Central Bank’s move to reduce stimulus via its bond-buying programme into 2022 reduces liquidity to buy assets across the board, including commodities. Concerns for interest rate rises given elevated inflation also overshadow commodities going forward.

“Property troubles in China also need to be remembered. Any significant slowdown in its economy could potentially result in reduced commodity demand.”

Top 10 best-performing funds 1 January – 30 November 2021

Position

Name

IA Sector

Return (%)

1

Schroder ISF Global Energy

Global

49.78

2

Goldman Sachs North America Energy & Energy Infrastructure Equity

Specialist

47.52

3

T. Rowe Price Frontier Markets Equity

Specialist

39.70

4

PIMCO GIS MLP & Energy Infrastructure Fund

Specialist

39.55

5

VT De Lisle America

North America

36.30

6

L&G Global Technology Index

Technology and Telecommunications

34.75

7

Aberdeen S NA SmComs

North American Smaller Companies

33.28

8

Goldman Sachs India Equity 

Specialist

33.24

9

Neuberger Berman US Real Estate Securities Fund

Property Other

33.18

10

Vontobel Commodity

Specialist

33.10

Source: interactive investor/Morningstar. Past performance is no guide to the future and you may not get back the full amount invested

Top 10 best-performing investment trusts 1 January – 30 November 2021

Position

Name

Association of Investment Companies (AIC) Sector

Return (%)

1

Geiger Counter (LSE:GCL)

Commodities & Natural Resources

104.00

2

Riverstone Energy (LSE:RSE)

Commodities & Natural Resources

78.68

3

VietNam Holding (LSE:VNH)

Country Specialist

66.79

4

Tufton Oceanic Assets (LSE:SHIP)

Leasing

54.87

5

Vietnam Enterprise (LSE:VEIL)

Country Specialist

54.51

6

Schiehallion Fund (LSE:MNTN)

Growth Capital

52.90

7

Electra Private Equity (LSE:ELTA)

Private Equity

48.81

8

Ashoka India Equity Investment (LSE:AIE)

India

45.22

9

Gresham House Strategic (LSE:GHS)

UK Smaller Companies

43.81

10

VPC Specialty Lending Investments (LSE:VSL)

Debt - Direct Lending

42.70

Source: interactive investor/Morningstar. Past performance is no guide to the future and you may not get back the full amount invested

 

Notes to editors

Discrete annual returns over five years to 30 November 2021

Funds

Name

Return 2016-12-01 to 2017-11-30 GBP

Return 2017-12-01 to 2018-11-30 GBP

Return 2018-12-01 to 2019-11-30 GBP

Return 2019-12-01 to 2020-11-30 GBP

Return 2020-12-01 to 2021-11-30 GBP

Schroder ISF Global Energy Z Acc EUR

-10.64

1.99

-24.52

-28.48

50.88

GS NA Engy & Engy Infras Eq R Acc USD

-14.70

5.62

-5.94

-21.24

44.63

T. Rowe Price Frontier Mkts Eq Q GBP

18.30

-11.00

7.72

-7.58

44.85

PIMCO GIS MLP & Engy Infr Ins GBP H Acc

-6.76

-0.13

-10.08

-28.10

43.04

VT De Lisle America B GBP

14.78

-8.07

7.97

9.86

40.50

L&G Global Technology Index I Acc

26.98

10.53

28.07

38.72

39.79

Aberdeen S NA SmComs X Acc GBP

     

15.26

39.55

GS India Equity R Inc GBP

30.49

-6.55

4.15

8.72

42.44

Neuberger Bm US Rel Est Sec USD I Acc

5.72

7.23

19.89

-7.66

31.97

Investment trusts

Discrete annual returns over five years to 30 November 2021

Name

Return 2016-12-01 to 2017-11-30 GBP

Return 2017-12-01 to 2018-11-30 GBP

Return 2018-12-01 to 2019-11-30 GBP

Return 2019-12-01 to 2020-11-30 GBP

Return 2020-12-01 to 2021-11-30 GBP

Geiger Counter Ord

7.14

0.63

-32.72

11.25

207.28

Riverstone Energy Ord

7.61

5.70

-50.62

-44.04

82.29

VietNam Holding Ord

12.25

-1.91

-1.12

2.92

76.19

Tufton Oceanic Assets Ord

   

3.46

0.17

55.91

Vietnam Enterprise Ord

41.24

1.20

3.75

9.90

62.74

Schiehallion Fund Ord

     

15.95

55.70

Electra Private Equity Ord

10.71

-18.04

15.85

-31.70

48.81

Ashoka India Equity Investment Ord

   

12.46

16.49

55.38

Gresham House Strategic Ord

16.71

13.63

-0.66

-14.04

36.93

VPC Specialty Lending Investments Ord

2.05

4.89

16.39

10.45

45.75

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.