Income funds dominate inflows chart
Investor appetite for dividend-payers last quarter reflects the lack of optimism around market growth.
By Mark Smith, Senior Reporter, FE Trustnet
Wednesday July 18, 2012
Funds with an income focus were the most popular among investors in the three months to the end of June, according to the latest sales data from the Cofunds platform.
Investors' money was spread around a variety of sectors, with multi-asset funds that offer exposure to both equities and bonds doing well.
However, what the majority of funds in the top-10 best-sellers list have in common is that they provide unit holders with a source of income.
Top-selling funds Q2 2012
Income strategies have proved popular during the market volatility of recent years. During crashes, dividends help to prop up returns, thus softening the blow.
According to Cofunds, most investors are opting for a managed multi-asset fund as a one-stop shop for income.
The £851m Cazenove Multi Manager Diversity
and £3.6bn Jupiter Merlin Income
funds were the most popular examples of this type of investment.
These portfolios are made up of other collective investment schemes. While this saves investors from spending time making tactical asset allocation decisions, they can be expensive; the Jupiter Merlin Income fund, for example, has a TER of 2.33 per cent.
Despite the high charges, manager John Chatfeild-Roberts
has beaten the market in each of the last 12 calendar years.
While multi-manager propositions have been popular, many investors are also opting for more focused funds for their income exposure.
The £7.7bn M&G Optimal Income
fund was the second most popular during the period, attracting more than £900m in these three months alone.
FE data also shows that it has been one of the most consistent outperformers over the medium-term, with returns of 56.47 per cent over the last five years compared with 26.07 per cent from the average Sterling Strategic Bond fund.
Performance of fund vs sector over 5-yrs
Source: FE Analytics
Our data shows it has a one-year historic yield of 3.82 per cent and a TER of 1.4 per cent.
Another of Richard Woolnough’s
funds, M&G Strategic Corporate Bond
, is also on the best-sellers list.
It has achieved top-quartile performance in the Sterling Corporate Bond sector over the last one and five years.
In choppy markets, equity investors are turning to dividend strategies over growth ones due to their defensive qualities.
As the recovery shows little sign of taking hold in the UK – the IMF yesterday slashed its 2013 growth forecast from 2 per cent to 1.4 per cent – investors are looking further afield for more attractive growth markets.
"Global funds remained popular with the Global and Global Equity Income sectors, attracting 6 per cent and 9 per cent of net sales respectively," commented Michelle Woodburn, head of fund group relations at Cofunds.
"GEM saw strong flows of 5 per cent market share although down from 8 per cent last quarter, with First State leading the way. Asia Pacific accounted for 4 per cent of net sales."
This is one of the reasons for the popularity of funds such as Newton Global Higher Income
and M&G Global Dividend – fourth and sixth on the list respectively.
The M&G Global Dividend fund, managed by FE Alpha Manager Stuart Rhodes
, has grown to £2.8bn since its launch exactly four years ago.
Another fund that has been attracting inflows is the £11.3bn Standard Life Inv Global Absolute Return Strategies fund, which is now one of the largest portfolios in the entire IMA unit trust and OEIC universe.
Worried about the paltry returns available from traditional investment funds, it seems a growing number of investors are attracted to the fund’s alternative approach and the pledge to provide a positive return in all market conditions.