Some sectors and themes are hard to invest in without incurring high charges. The cost of researching obscure areas in far-away lands can result in a total expense ratio (TER) of more than 2 per cent.
While some of these areas have the potential to deliver significant returns, the corrosive effect of high charges over the long-term can put many investors off.
Here are some funds that provide exposure to these areas at a below-average cost:
Global Equity Income
Standard Life Global Equity Income
has a total expense ratio (TER) of just 1.06 per cent, the lowest in IMA Global Equity Income.
The fund is a top-four performer in the sector over 10 years, with returns of 77.98 per cent compared with the average fund's 43.24 per cent.
Performance of fund vs sector over 10-yrs
Source: FE Analytics
The fund's returns put it in the sector's top half in eight of the past 10 years, the only exceptions being 2008 and 2011 when it slipped to third- and fourth-quartile performance respectively.
took over as lead manager at the beginning of this year, following the departure of Jacqueline Kerr. The fund has a minimum investment of £500.
Five FE-crowned Oceanic Australia Natural Resources
has a TER of just 1.4 per cent, which is well below average for a commodities portfolio.
The fund is certainly not for the faint-hearted and is susceptible to big losses during down periods; however, for investors positive about the outlook for natural resources, this fund is capable of providing significant returns over the long-term.
With an annualised volatility of 39.46 per cent over five years, it has been one of the riskiest funds in the IMA unit trust and OEIC universe. In 2008 alone, it lost 63.2 per cent. However, in the following year it delivered in excess of 114 per cent to investors.
Investment manager Peter Rue says the macro-economic environment is supportive of the fund’s current positioning.
He commented: "We believe that the markets may need assistance from the central banks around the world by injecting more liquidity into the system by way of quantitative easing."
"This should support the commodities markets as money should flow to perceived ‘real assets’, and the commodity with most to gain in this situation should be gold, hence the fund is positioned overweight against the benchmark in precious metals."
Managed by Myles Campion
, the fund has a minimum investment of £5,000. The portfolio has returned 37.04 per cent since its launch in July 2005.
Another fund with high exposure to gold is Investec Enhanced Natural Resources
, which has a TER of 1.68 per cent.
It can take both long and short positions, with gold its second-largest long exposure, behind diversified energy.
Since its launch in May 2008, the £275m fund has returned 11.74 per cent.
FE Alpha Manager Bradley George
runs the portfolio with George Cheveley. The fund has a minimum investment of £1,000.
CF Ruffer Pacific
charges investors a TER of 1.59 per cent to provide exposure to Asia Pacific equities.
It has holdings across the region, with 10 per cent in Sri Lanka, nine per cent in Thailand and just seven per cent in China.
It has returned 38.66 per cent since being taken over by FE Alpha Manager Mary McBain
back in October 2006, compared with 20.83 per cent from its MSCI Asia Pacific benchmark, with less volatility.
Performance of fund vs benchmark since October 2006
Source: FE Analytics
The fund, which sits in the IMA Specialist sector, has a minimum investment of £1,000. It currently has a 13 per cent weighting to Japan.
Sitting in the IMA Global sector, the M&G Fund of Investment Trust
has a TER of just 1.19 per cent, which is well below average for a multi-manager portfolio.
It invests in shares of investment trust companies, with holdings spread through UK- and globally-focused funds.
Aberdeen Asian Income, Henderson Asian Growth Trust and Edinburgh Dragon Trust are among its top-10 holdings, giving it a large exposure to Asia.
The fund is managed by Richard O’Connor
and has a minimum investment of just £500 and a minimum top-up of £10.
According to FE data, it has returned more than its Global sector average over three and 10 years, but has lost more over five.