Fidelity International has taken the top spot in an annual ranking of investment groups with the highest number of top-performing UK retail fund managers, displacing US giant BlackRock and reclaiming its crown from 2018.
According to data provider FE Fundinfo, which compiled the Alpha Managers list, Fidelity has 11 stock-pickers who are consistently among the top 10% of performers in the UK retail market. This was two more than in last year’s table.
The ranking, which in total identified 200 “alpha managers”, arrives as an annual boost for stock-pickers who make the grade. This will be particularly appreciated at a time of close scrutiny on fees and poor performance, as well as continued inflows to index-tracking funds.
Data published by Morningstar in January revealed that investors ploughed a net £19bn into UK passive funds in 2019, while active funds bled £32bn.
FE assesses fund managers’ ability to beat the market going back to the year 2000, as well as studying how consistently they performed. Extra weighting is given to longer track records, to reward experience.
Alex Wright, manager of the Fidelity Special Situations fund; Aruna Karunathilake, manager of the Fidelity UK Select fund; and fixed income portfolio manager Bryan Collins were among the Fidelity managers named in the ranking.
BlackRock, which took second place, had eight managers named on the list — down from 10 last year, when it topped the ranking. FE’s hall of fame was headed by Fidelity in 2018 and Schroders in 2017, with Fidelity sharing the honours with Janus Henderson the year before.
Alex Shingler, a New York-based multi-asset portfolio manager; Olivia Markham, co-manager of the BlackRock World Mining Trust; and Justin Christofel, another multi-asset specialist, were among those at BlackRock who were featured on 2020’s list.
John Boselli, an equity portfolio manager at Wellington Management — and one of 55 new entrants to this year’s list — was identified as the top performer.
Boselli’s Global Quality Growth and Manulife Global Quality Growth funds have consistently outperformed their benchmarks, with the former returning 63.83% over the past three years, compared with 22.95% in its IA Global Sector benchmark.
Alex Lyle, who manages 13 funds at Columbia Threadneedle, was another new entrant, as was Philip Saunders, co-head of multi-asset at Investec Asset Management. Saunders manages nine funds across the IA Flexible Investment and IA Specialist sectors.
Despite a torrid period for GAM following significant outflows and the liquidation of several flagship bond funds in the wake of the Tim Haywood scandal, the Swiss asset manager was joint third on the FE list, with six of its fund managers named.
As well as success stories, there were some notable absences from the Alpha Managers list this year, either because of retirement or fund closures.
This year 55 fund managers surrendered the accolade, most notably Neil Woodford, whose eponymous investment company collapsed following the closure of his flagship Equity Income fund in October 2019.
Charles Younes, research manager at FE Fundinfo, said: “In the 2020 Alpha Manager rebalance, Fidelity have a number of Alpha Managers across a range of sectors. This suggests that there is not one driver behind their success, but rather it’s their environment and support teams which provide excellent feedback to the fund managers.”
He added: “Over the past year, the benefits of active management have increasingly come under the spotlight, as passive investing continues to attract significant inflows, during one of the largest bull runs in history.
“However, active management remains a vital component of any successful investment proposition, particularly in more challenging economic environments.”
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