Aberdeen and M&G retain dubious honours on fund "dog" list

Aberdeen and M&G retain dubious honours on fund "dog" list

Open-ended funds managed Aberdeen and M&G continue to dominate a notorious "worst of the worst" list of serially underperforming funds, with those in the global and global equity income the most prevalent on the twice-yearly list.

Published every six months by Tilney Bestinvest, the Spot the Dog report names funds that have underperformed for three consecutive years and by more than 10% over the three-year period.

In the most recent edition, looking at the six months to 30 June 2015, the number of "dog" funds dropped from 60 to 37 compared to the previous half-year, and the amount under management fell to £17.6 billion from £23 billion in the last report.

Fund house M&G continued to dominate the list by assets under management (£7.3 billion) owing to underperformance by its former flagship funds M&G Recovery and M&G Global Basics, which together account for 41% of dog assets.

The former has however kept its place on the Hargreaves Lansdown Wealth 150 preferred funds list, despite its consistently poor performance.

Hargreaves Lansdown recently came out in defence of the fund after a Money Observer reader took issue with its inclusion in the Wealth 150.

Aberdeen claims the dubious title of managing the most "dog" funds, with eight making the list this time around - down from nine six months ago. The fund house last month reported net outflows of almost £10 billion as institutional investors fled from Asian and emerging markets equities, where the group has significant assets under management.

The Aberdeen dogs include:

  • Aberdeen UK Opportunities Equity;
  • Aberdeen European Smaller Companies Equity;
  • Aberdeen European Equity;
  • Aberdeen Asia Pacific & Japan Equity;
  • Aberdeen Asia Pacific Equity;
  • Aberdeen World Equity Income;
  • Aberdeen World Equity; and
  • Aberdeen Ethical World Equity.

St James's Place had three funds appear in the doghouse, including St James's Place Far East, St James's Place Ethical and St James's Place
High Octane. Of these, the Far East (ongoing charges figure of 1.62%) and Ethical (1.63%) funds are actually managed by Aberdeen. The High Octane (2.14%) fund is managed by Oldfield Partners.

Funds in UK equity, European equity and Japanese equity were relatively "rare breeds", with only eight dog funds between them.

"Most active fund managers investing in the UK market and Europe have now outperformed over three and five years," says Tilney Bestinvest managing director Jason Hollands, "and that is based on their longest-established share classes.

"Arguably the scope for outperformance should improve over time as the industry shift to lower-cost share classes, stripped of commissions and platform fees, feeds through."

However, he adds: "The gulf between the best and worst performers is still huge. Among funds in the UK all companies sector, £100 invested in the worst fund delivered a £9.20 return over three years while the best performer generated a £116.90 return - so it is still vital to be selective. Investment funds are not 'all the same'."

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