Bonds: Global Bonds
According to trade body, the Investment Association, collectively we now have £899 billion invested in funds - pooled investment schemes sometimes referred to as unit trusts or OEICs.
But investing can be a tricky business, given the plethora of products on offer. In addition, investing is also a long-term business and there will be ups and downs, so patience is key. While there is no shortage of funds to choose from, finding fund managers who can deliver consistently is another matter.
Rob Gleeson, head of FE Research, a fund analyst, explains: "Generally, the most consistent managers are the ones with a strong core strategy. While they will have ups and downs across the business cycle, over multiple cycles they offer relatively stable returns."
To give you an idea of where you might want to squirrel away some cash, we've picked out 50 fund choices, as recommended by some of the UK's top fund-pickers. Our panel includes: Darius McDermott, managing director of brokers Chelsea Financial Services; Mark Dampier, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown; Gavin Haynes, managing director of Whitechurch Securities; and Adrian Lowcock, head of investing at Axa Wealth.
Bonds, sometimes referred to as fixed-income investments, are 'IOUs' issued by governments or firms looking to raise cash. Investors lend their cash for a set period of time and, in return, the issuer pays interest. When the bond matures, the capital should be returned in full. Experts recommend them to create a balanced and diversified portfolio.
Global bond funds invest in a wide range of bonds around the world.
36. LEGG MASON GLOBAL MULTI-STRATEGY BOND - Five-year return: 14%
Haynes says:"This fund will invest across a broad range of international fixed interest securities, including government, corporate and emerging market bonds. It is managed by a major US-based fixed-interest house, Western Asset Management, which is highly respected globally."
37. BLACKROCK FIXED INCOME GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES - Five-year return: 8%
Manager Scott Thiel has the flexibility to invest anywhere. Tipped by Lowcock, he says: "The fund uses a mixture of traditional bond assets and other financial instruments to reduce risk and maximise returns."
Open-ended investment companies are hybrid investment funds that have some of the features of an investment trust and some of a unit trust. Like an investment trust, an Oeic issues shares but, unlike an investment trust which has a fixed number of shares in issue, like a unit trust, the fund manager of an Oeic can create and redeem (buy back and cancel) shares subject to demand, so new shares are created for investors who want to buy and the Oeic buys back shares from investors who want to sell. Also, Oeic pricing is easier to understand than unit trusts as Oeics only have one price to buy or sell (unit trusts have one price to buy the unit and another lower price when selling it back to the fund).