Interactive Investor

Top performing low-risk and high-risk funds in 2021

20th December 2021 14:43

Douglas Chadwick from ii contributor

Saltydog analyst drills down into the performance of 2021's least and most volatile 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.

Even though we have been living under the cloud of Covid-19 for all this year, stock markets have continued to make progress.

Each week, we look at the performance of thousands of funds and over the year we have seen some impressive returns.

In our analysis we group together the Investment Association (IA) sectors based on their historic volatility. The least volatile sectors have been Standard Money Market and Short Term Money Market, which are in our ‘Safe Haven’ group. Although the volatility is low, with interest rates close to zero, so are the returns.

Our ‘Slow Ahead’ group contains the sectors that have been slightly more volatile. The funds tend to invest in bonds or a combination of bonds and equities. The sectors in this group are: Sterling Corporate Bonds, Sterling Strategic Bonds, Sterling High Yield, Mixed Investment 0-30% Shares, Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares, Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares, and Targeted Absolute Returns.

The best-performing funds from this group so far this year (to 19 December) are from the Mixed Investment 40-85% shares sector and the top two have gone up by more than 16%: BNY Mellon Mlt-Asst Balanced and Royal London Sustainable World. They are both currently in our demonstration portfolios, Ocean Liner and Tugboat. 

Top 5 funds in the Saltydog 'Slow Ahead' group 1 Jan to 19 Dec 2021

 
Fund Name Investment Association Sector 1 Jan to 31 March 1 April to 30 June 1 July to 30 Sept 1 Oct to 19 Dec 1 Jan to 19 Dec
BNY Mellon Mlt-Asst Balanced Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares 2.65 4.97 3.33 4.83 16.73
Royal London Sustainable World Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares -2.53 9.52 4.35 4.34 16.23
Liontrust Balanced Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares -2.94 10.09 2.20 6.17 15.94
Jupiter Multi-Asset Income & Growth Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares 2.30 6.29 1.99 3.38 14.66
Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equity Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares 2.58 5.59 1.14 4.03 13.96

Data source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

The ‘Steady as She Goes’ group is made up of funds from the following sectors: UK Gilts, UK Index-Linked Gilts, Global Bonds, Property, Flexible Investment, UK Equity Income, UK All Companies, and UK Smaller Companies. These have been more volatile than the sectors in the ‘Slow Ahead’ group, but not as volatile as the sectors that are in the ‘Full Steam Ahead’ groups.

The top two funds are both from the UK Smaller Companies sector. This was the best-performing sector in the first quarter of the year, and the third best in the second quarter. It has not done so well in the second half of the year. Over the past three months, the average fund in the sector has posted a loss.  

In third place is a UK All Companies fund, then it is a fund from the UK Equity Income sector and finally another UK All Companies fund. All these funds have gone up by more than 27%.

Top 5 funds in the Saltydog 'Steady as She Goes' group 1 Jan to 19 Dec 2021

 
Fund Name Investment Association Sector 1 Jan to 31 March 1 April to 30 June 1 July to 30 Sept 1 Oct to 19 Dec 1 Jan to 19 Dec
Liontrust UK Micro Cap UK Smaller Companies 13.66 15.45 6.10 -6.39 30.32
Fidelity UK Smaller Companies UK Smaller Companies 13.60 11.41 6.14 -3.27 29.94
Artemis SmartGARP UK Equity Fund UK All Companies 12.87 6.23 5.76 1.07 28.17
Schroder Income Fund UK Equity Income 12.76 2.96 4.29 5.33 27.53
Slater Recovery UK All Companies 10.15 10.01 5.14 0.06 27.48

Data source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

The most-volatile sectors go into our two ‘Full Steam Ahead’ groups. The ‘Developed’ group is home to the Global, American, Japanese, and European sectors.

The best-performing fund in this group has been the Schroder ISF Global Energy fund, which is up by over 48% so far this year. The next four funds are from the North America sector, which looks like it is going to be the best-performing sector in 2021.

Top 5 funds in the Saltydog 'Full Steam Ahead Developed' group 1 Jan to 19 Dec 2021

 
Fund Name Investment Association Sector 1 Jan to 31 March 1 April to 30 June 1 July to 30 Sept 1 Oct to 19 Dec 1 Jan to 19 Dec
Schroder ISF Global Energy Global 25.06 9.98 12.09 -3.70 48.47
VT De Lisle America North America 22.72 4.59 2.51 1.80 33.94
BMO North American Equity North America 8.22 7.51 4.08 8.68 31.60
Royal London US Growth North America 5.02 8.70 4.98 8.82 30.41
JPM US Select North America 4.26 7.12 5.50 10.19 29.83

Data source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

The ‘Full Steam Ahead Emerging’ group contains the Chinese, Asia-Pacific, Global Emerging Markets, and Technology and Technology Innovations sectors. The leading funds are all from the Technology and Technology Innovations sector. The L&G Global Technology Index and the AXA Framlington Global Technology funds are also in our demonstration portfolios.

Top 5 funds in the Saltydog 'Full Steam Ahead Emerging' group 1 Jan to 19 Dec 2021

 

Fund Name Investment Association Sector 1 Jan to 31 March 1 April to 30 June 1 July to 30 Sept 1 Oct to 19 Dec 1 Jan to 19 Dec
L&G Global Technology Index Technology and Technology Innovations 3.16 11.64 4.57 9.48 31.84
Fidelity Global Technology Technology and Technology Innovations 9.63 6.30 1.67 3.93 23.14
Liontrust Global Technology Technology and Technology Innovations -5.61 17.53 3.72 4.38 20.10
Janus Henderson Global Tech Leaders Technology and Technology Innovations 1.69 10.57 0.39 4.44 17.89
AXA Framlington Global Technology Technology and Technology Innovations -2.73 13.46 1.30 5.38 17.81

Data source: Morningstar. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Outside these groups is the Specialist sector and some new ‘thematic’ sectors such as India, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Commodities. The best-performing fund from these sectors is Guinness Global Energy, which is up 44.8% since the beginning of the year.

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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.