Interactive Investor

Fund manager Olympics: UK goes for gold

20th July 2021 17:47

Jemma Jackson from interactive investor

We examine the track records of funds and investment trusts investing across the globe over 25, 10, five years and over the past 12 months. 

  • UK Smaller Companies shine over marathon 25-year period, with US dominating over 10 years and middle distance (five years)
  • Doing the splits: two UK-focused split capital investment trusts among top performers over one year (100 metres)

The Tokyo Olympics is nearly upon us, with the world’s most talented athletes gearing up to take part in the iconic sporting event (kicking off on Friday 23 July 2021) to vie for gold in their respective disciplines.

To mark the Olympics, interactive investor, the UK’s second-largest DIY investment platform, looked at the track records of funds and investment trusts investing across the globe over 25, 10, five years and over the past 12 months (to 8 July 2021).

interactive investor ranked the top three best-performing portfolios in cumulative terms over each time periods, in total return terms. The platform looked at equity-only funds and investment trusts that were in comparable sectors.

Baillie Gifford portfolios dominate, with Scottish Mortgage (LSE:SMT) Investment Trust securing a podium spot over five, 10 and 25 years, while UK-centric portfolios have performed best over the past year and 25 years.

Last week, ii revealed the best-performing Japanese focused funds and/or investment trusts over the same time periods.

Marathon – 25 years

It is UK Smaller Companies dominating over 25 years, with Marlborough Special Situations taking gold, boasting a total return of 4,290% ahead of Rights & Issues Investment Trust (LSE:RIII), another UK Smaller Companies specialist, in second (4,251%) and Scottish Mortgage (LSE:SMT) in bronze position (2,930%).

1,500m – 10 years

Over 10 years, Baillie Gifford American, secures top spot, returning 863%, with Scottish Mortgage (LSE:SMT) once again securing a podium position, taking silver having returned 795% and Morgan Stanley INVF US Growth in third (769%).

800m – five years

It is more of the same over five years, with Scottish Mortgage (LSE:SMT) (383%) this time pipping Baillie Gifford American (367%) to the number one spot and Morgan Stanley INVF US Growth once again in third.

100m – one year

It’s almost 20 years since the split capital trust crisis, with the number of split capital trusts on the market having shrunk considerably since. But split capital trust Chelverton UK Dividend Trust (LSE:SDV) successfully weathered the crisis, and many other market ups and downs along the way, and the ordinary shares of this split capital trust takes gold over one year, returning 103%. The ordinary shares of split capital trust Aberforth Split Level Income (LSE:ASIT) are up 96% ranks second ahead of Premier Miton UK Smaller Companies (89%) securing bronze.

Dzmitry Lipski, Head of Funds Research, interactive investor, says: “Scottish Mortgage and Baillie Gifford American have been a favourite among our customers, having tempted investors with their stellar returns over the medium and long term – largely powered by the outperformance of their tech holdings.

“Meanwhile, with the picture on Brexit having cleared significantly since the exit deal was struck, UK funds have experienced a long overdue reprieve over the past year, with a renewed sense of optimism flooding into the market buoyed by healthy economic growth forecasts.

“While it is useful to look out how a fund has performance over short-term and longer-term time horizons, it is important to remember that investing is a marathon, not a sprint. History shows that markets have a knack of overcoming short-term volatility to deliver positive inflation beating returns over the long term. But nothing is ever guaranteed, and past performance is in the past and essentially amounts to a lost opportunity.

“Absolute return should not be viewed in isolation when weighing up investments. It is important to consider other aspects like consistency and resilience of the fund. Diversification remains key, ensuring your portfolio has a good spread of different securities, asset classes and sectors, thereby minimising your overall level of risk.”

Top performing funds and investment trusts (% total return)

Marathon - 25 Years


Fund/investment trust

25 Years (%)


Marlborough Special Situations P Acc (fund)



Rights & Issues Investment Trust (investment trust)



Scottish Mortgage (investment trust)


1,500 Metres - 10 Years


Fund/investment trust

10 Years


Baillie Gifford American B (fund)



Scottish Mortgage (investment trust)



Morgan Stanley INVF US Growth (fund)


800 Metres - 5 Years


Fund/investment trust

5 Years


Scottish Mortgage (investment trust)



Baillie Gifford American B (fund)



Morgan Stanley INVF US Growth (fund)


100 Metres - 1 Year


Fund/investment trust

1 Year


Chelverton UK Dividend Trust (investment trust)



Aberforth Split Level Income (investment trust)



Premier Miton UK Smaller Companies B (fund)


Performance data to 8 July 2021. Source: interactive investor using Morningstar. Past performance is no guide to the future. Investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount invested.


Notes to editors

Discrete returns for companies listed in press release

  09/07/2020 - 08/07/2021 09/07/2019 - 08/07/2020 09/07/2018 - 08/07/2019 09/07/2017 - 08/07/2018 09/07/2016 - 08/07/2017
Marlborough Special Situations P Acc 48.35 1.61 -9.6 17.23 35.59
Rights & Issues Investment Trust Ord 52.71 -10.67 -14.66 7.38 51.35
Scottish Mortgage Ord 53.82 61.5 3.56 35.67 38.47
Baillie Gifford American B Acc 39.71 58.16 14.48 41.91 30.15
MS INVF US Growth Z 33.69 45.58 19.86 35.63 30.87
Chelverton UK Dividend Trust Ord 103.19 -32.73 -12.96 4.66 36.59
Aberforth Split Level Income Ord 95.69 -35.3 -12.75 5.52  
Premier Miton UK Smaller Companies B Acc 88.55 8.01 -21.51 19.17 26.07

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.