CF Woodford Equity Income was the most-bought fund in March for the eighth consecutive month, according to data from our sister site Interactive Investor.
Star manager Neil Woodford's first eponymous fund has held onto the top spot since its launch in June 2014. Initially launched with £1.6 billion of assets under management, the fund is now close to £5.5 billion in size, making it the second largest fund in the Investment Association's (IA's) UK equity income sector.
In the six months to 2 April the fund has returned 13.2%, making it the seventh best-performing fund in the sector. Majedie UK Income is the best-performing UK equity income fund during the period, with a return of 17.4%.
AXA Framlington Biotech was the second most-bought fund in March for the fourth consecutive month, as the biotechnology sector continues to attract inflows following a period of stellar returns.
Global funds climb
Managed by biotechnology expert Linden Thomson, AXA Framlington Biotech has returned 63.5% over the past year and 193.8% in the three years to 2 April.
Fundsmith Equity was the third most-bought fund in March, rising from fourth place in February. Managed by controversial ex-banker Terry Smith, the US dominated global fund has returned over 17% during the past six months; however it has struggled since January.
Artemis Global Income also rose one place since February to become March's fourth most-bought fund as top-performing manager Jacob de Tusch Lec continues to attract strong inflows.
Launched in July 2010, the fund now has close to £2 billion of assets under management and is the best-performing fund in the global equity income sector over three years, with a return of 76% compared to 43.7% from the sector.
Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equities climbed from seventh position in February to fifth in March as index trackers continue to gain favour with private investors. Vanguard LifeStrategy 80% Equities is a particularly strong performer, delivering first quartile returns over one and three years while carrying an ongoing charges figure (OCF) of just 0.24%.
Neptune UK Mid-Cap was the sixth most-bought fund in March, as it continues to gain traction following its return to the top ten in February after a near three-year absence.
Managed by medium-sized company expert Mark Martin, Neptune UK Mid-Cap is one of the fund house's few performers, topping the UK all companies sector over one, three and five years despite small and medium sized companies falling out of favour last year.
Vanguard FTSE Developed World ex UK Equity Index was the second tracker fund to make it into the top ten in March, ranking as the seventh most-bought fund. Again, the fund has delivered excellent returns, ranking in the first quartile of the global sector over one, three and five years.
Barnett recovers ground
Both of Neil Woodford's former funds also ranked in March's top ten most-bought, with Invesco Perpetual High Income and Invesco Perpetual Income the eighth and tenth most-bought funds respectively.
Now managed by Woodford's protégé Mark Barnett, both funds have performed well despite the strong outflows caused by their former manager's departure in March last year. In the 12 months to 2 April, High Income has returned 14.9% while Income trails slightly with 14.7%.
Jupiter India was the ninth most-bought fund in March, returning to the top ten after a one-month absence. Launched in 2008, Jupiter India made its first appearance in Interactive Investor's most-bought chart in January as investors were wooed by strong returns from the Indian stock market.
Managed by Jupiter's head of South Asian equities Avinash Vazirani, Jupiter India has returned 61.8% over the past year and close to 25% in the past six months. However, returns have begun to slow as the euphoria caused by the election of India's reformist Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year begins to fade.
This article was written for our sister website Money Observer