Interactive Investor

Sector by sector: the best and worst funds of 2020

Saltydog reveals the best and worst-performing funds across 31 fund sectors.

4th January 2021 14:22

Douglas Chadwick from ii contributor

This content is provided by Saltydog Investor. It is a third-party supplier and not part of interactive investor. It is provided for information only and does not constitute a personal recommendation.

Saltydog reveals the best and worst-performing funds across 31 fund sectors. 

This content is provided by Saltydog Investor. It is a third-party supplier and not part of interactive investor. It is provided for information only and does not constitute a personal recommendation.  

Each week, we provide our members with up-to-date performance data on a wide range of funds. We do not guarantee to include all funds, but we cover the majority of UK domiciled funds available to retail investors.

We arrange them in their Investment Association (IA) sectors and then combine the sectors to form our own Saltydog groups.

We use the historic volatility of the sectors to determine which group funds end up in. The least volatile sectors are in the ‘Safe Haven’ group. Then there is the ‘Slow Ahead’ group, followed by ‘Steady As She Goes’ and, finally, the two ‘Full Steam Ahead’ groups. We report on funds in the specialist sector separately.

The groups can be used to help control the overall volatility of a balanced portfolio.

As momentum investors, we look for trends in the markets and focus on the relative performance of the sectors. We believe that these reflect the underlying macro-economic conditions around the world. Having selected which sectors to invest in, choosing the best-performing funds is relatively straightforward.

Because our main focus is on the sectors, and we only ever look at the leading funds, it is easy to lose sight of the variance in performance among the funds in each sector. We examined our analysis for last year and picked out the best and worst fund for each sector.

Investment Association sector Best-performing fund in 2020 Return (%) Worst-performing fund in 2020 Return (%)
Safe Haven Group        
Standard Money Market ASI Sterling Money Market 0.4 Premier Miton UK Money Market 0.2
Short Term Money Market Royal London Short Term Money Market 0.3 BlackRock Cash 0.1
Slow Ahead Group        
Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares Baillie Gifford Managed 33.9 Jupiter Distribution and Growth -11.4
£ Strategic Bond Allianz Strategic Bond 31.0 VT Garraway Diversified Income -12.9
Targeted Absolute Return FP Argonaut Absolute Return 16.3 Jupiter Absolute Return -17.3
£ Corporate Bond Janus Henderson Instl Long Dated Credit 15.8 AXA Sterling Credit Short Duration Bond 2.3
Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares Royal London Sustainable Diversified Trust 13.4 BMO MM Navigator Distribution -7.6
Mixed Investment 0-35% Shares Vanguard LifeStrategy 20% Equity 7.5 VT Garraway Multi Asset Diversification -9.8
£ High Yield L&G High Income 6.1 AXA Pan European High Yld Bond -1.7
UK Equity and Bond Income LF IM UK Equity & Bond Income 2.9 HSBC Monthly Income -10.3
Steady as She Goes Group        
Flexible Investment Liontrust Global Alpha 43.6 TB Wise Multi-Asset Income -10.5
UK All Companies MI Chelverton UK Equity Growth 15.9 Jupiter UK Growth -26.7
Global Equity Income Baillie Gifford Global Inc Growth 14.6 Schroder Global Equity Income -8.5
UK Gilts Vanguard UK Long Duration Gilt Index 14.0 HSBC Gilt & Fixed Interest 7.9
UK Index Linked Gilts Janus Henderson Index-Linked Bond 13.8 M&G Index-Linked Bond 11.0
Global Bonds Threadneedle European Bond 12.6 Templeton Global Total Return Bond -12.0
UK Equity Income Premier Miton UK Multi Cap 8.1 Premier Miton Monthly Income -23.8
UK Direct Property BMO UK Property -3.5 Aegon Property Income -10.6
Property Other ASI UK Real Estate Share -5.1 Quilter Inv Glbl Property Securities -12.8
Full Steam Ahead Developed Group        
North America inc Smaller Companies Baillie Gifford American 121.8 M&G North American Value -1.8
Global Baillie Gifford L/T Global Growth 95.6 Quilter Investors Global Unconstrained -10.7
UK Smaller Companies Premier Miton UK Smaller Companies 77.3 Artemis UK Smaller Companies -16.5
Europe Excluding UK L&G European 46.7 Schroder European Alpha Income -11.8
Japan & Japanese Smaller Companies Legg Mason IF Japan Equity 40.5 Man GLG Japan CoreAlpha -14.0
European Smaller Companies Janus Henderson European Smaller Cos 32.6 Merian Europe Ex UK Smlr Coms 7.5
Europe Including UK Threadneedle Pan Europe Focus 14.3 SVM All Europe SRI 1.8
Full Steam Ahead Emerging Group        
Technology and Telecommunications T. Rowe Price Global Technology 68.9 Close FTSE TechMark 5.9
China/Greater China Allianz China A-Shares Equity 62.6 Jupiter China 3.5
Asia Pacific Baillie Gifford Pacific 60.4 L&G Asian Income -5.4
Global Emerging Markets Threadneedle GEM Equity 31.3 Lazard Emerging Markets -2.4
Specialist Junior Gold 71.4 TB Guinness Global Energy -35.7

Data source: Morningstar

In the ‘Slow Ahead’ group, the best-performing fund was Baillie Gifford Managed from the Mixed Investment 40-85% shares sector. Last year, it went up by more than 33%. The worst-performing fund in the sector went down by more than 11%.

There was a bigger difference in the Flexible sector, from the ‘Steady as She Goes’ Group, where the Liontrust Global Alpha fund went up by 44%, while the TB Wise Multi-Asset Income fund lost 11%.

The most extreme case was in the North American sector. The leading fund, Baillie Gifford American, gained nearly 122%, but the worst fund, M&G North American Value, made a loss.

These top-performing funds will be familiar to our members. They have regularly appeared in our weekly shortlists and have been included in our two demonstration portfolios, Tugboat and Ocean Liner.  

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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.