Interactive Investor

Top 10 most popular investment funds: March 2020

Four new entries in our top 10 list and a definite shift from active to passive investing.

1st April 2020 12:33

by Nina Kelly from interactive investor

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Four new entries in our top 10 list and a definite shift from active to passive investing.

What a difference a month makes. The huge macroeconomic shock that is the coronavirus pandemic has notably altered our monthly most-bought investment funds list, with eight of the top 10 funds now being passive products, up from six in February.

Since our last monthly update, the UK has been put under lockdown, and the FTSE 100 index has experienced its worst quarter since 1987.

While the most-bought funds list, compiled with data from our parent company interactive investor, still contains firm favourites Fundsmith Equity and Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equityin the top two spots, respectively, four new entries in the line-up are all index tracker funds in the Investment Association’s UK All Companies sector.

Dip-buyers appear to have come out in force and are attempting to secure bargains through low-cost passive products following the coronavirus market sell-off. Entering the list in sixth place is the Vanguard FTSE UK All Share Index, with the HSBC FTSE 100 index, Fidelity Index UKand Vanguard FTSE 100 Index taking the eighth, ninth and tenth spots, respectively.

In keeping with the passive trend, the Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% Equityoption has risen three places in the table, as investors with a long-term perspective attempt to take advantage of cheap prices. Meanwhile, the Vanguard LifeStrategy 60% Equityfund – the only faller in the table - slips one place to the fourth spot, although US leviathan Vanguard can still boast an impressive total of six funds in the most-bought list.

The Vanguard US Equity tracker has experienced a surge in demand, jumping two places to fifth place. Last week, President Donald Trump agreed a $2 trillion stimulus package – the largest in US history – to safeguard the country’s economy from the virus.

Ever a favourite among investors, Lindsell Train Global Equity, with its strategy of buying quality companies for the long term, has climbed one spot to seventh place. Along with Fundsmith Equity, it is one of only two actively managed funds in our list.

The active funds that have exited the top 10 since February are Baillie Gifford American, previously in the fourth spot, and AXA Framlington Global Technology, previously ranked ninth.

Part of the appeal of passive funds is their low cost and simplicity. Investors who buy a passive fund opt to simply buy the marketand their returns will mirror how the index performs, minus fees.

In contrast, with active funds, investors are buying on the hope of outperformance. While there are funds that have earned their stripes in delivering plenty of value to investors, the reality is that there are far more duds than gems. Investors need to have their wits about them and seek out the superior options. One useful starting point is Money Observer’s Rated Funds list, which highlights best-in-class active funds, as well as passive options. 

Rank FundIA sectorChange since  
 1-year return
to April 1 (%)
 return (%)
1Fundsmith EquityGlobalno change1.634.1
2Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% EquityMixed Investment 40%-85% Sharesno change-6.13.1
3Vanguard LifeStrategy 100% EquityGlobal+3-90.9
4Vanguard LifeStrategy 60% EquityMixed Investment 40%-85% Shares-1-3.15.2
5Vanguard US Equity IndexNorth America+2-412.4
6Vanguard FTSE UK All Share IndexUK All CompaniesNew entry-19.8-14.1
7Lindsell Train Global EquityGlobal+1-3.639
8HSBC FTSE 100 index C AccUK All CompaniesNew entry-18.8-13.5
9Fidelity Index UK Fund P AccUK All CompaniesNew entry-18.6-13.2
10Vanguard FTSE 100 Index Unit Trust AUK All CompaniesNew entry-19.8-13.8

This article was originally published in our sister magazine Money Observer, which ceased publication in August 2020.

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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