Global funds dominate 'dog' list of poor performers

Kyle Caldwell
7 February 2017

The number of serial underperforming funds has increased from 30 to 41, according to Tilney Bestinvest's latest Spot the Dog report.

But, while compared to last August there are more funds in the doghouse, the amount of money held in the underperformers has fallen by more than half, from £18 billion to £8.6 billion.

Tilney Bestinvest's biannual report names and shames active funds that for three consecutive years have underperformed their respective benchmark index and have underperformed by more than 5 per cent over the three-year period.

The latter criterion used to be 10%, an easier hurdle for funds to escape the dog tag, but this has now been tightened.


Global funds dominate

According to Jason Hollands, managing director of communications at Tilney Bestinvest, the change has been made in light of the fact that the report now analyses purely commission-free share classes, which have lower costs than those that were commonplace in the past and therefore should find it easier to keep up with the index.

Global funds dominated the list of underperformers, with 16 funds featuring. The five worst performers in terms of relative three-year return were: GAM International Growth & Value, Neptune Global Income, Henderson World Select, Neptune Global Equity and EdenTree Amity International.

The report put the 'rough time' these funds experienced over the past three years down to them being underweight the US stock market.

In terms of consistency, the UK smaller companies fund sector was named best in show, with no funds appearing in the dog list.


Unlike other Spot the Dog reports over the years, a single fund group did not dominate the dog fund line-up. Aberdeen Asset Management took the loser prize, with four funds in the kennel, although this does represent an improvement compared to a year ago when 11 Aberdeen funds featured on the list.

Schroders, who had one fund fail the performance criteria, was the fund house with the largest amount of money in 'dog assets'. The Schroder UK Mid 250 fund, managed by Andy Brough, holds £1.2 billion in assets.

M&G recovers

A spokesperson for Schroders says: 'It is important to note that over a five-year period the Schroder UK Mid Cap 250 fund is up 110.4% and ahead of its benchmark and the sector average which returned 70.1%.

"Underperformance over the last 12 months was due to a large exposure to domestic stocks, which suffered due to a result of the EU referendum; these are now recovering quickly as earnings and dividends come through as expected."

Elsewhere, M&G escaped the kennel. Last summer three of the firm's funds, M&G Global Dividend, M&G Recovery and M&G Global Basics, accounted for 60% of dog fund assets - £11.7 billion out of £18 billion in total. This time around none of M&G's funds feature, as performance has picked up.

Other groups that managed to avoid the hall of shame altogether included Aviva Investors, Axa, Artemis, Baillie Gifford, Barings, BlackRock, BMO Global, First State, Invesco Perpetual, JO Hambro, JP Morgan, Kames Capital, Liontrust, Man GLG, Old Mutual and Royal London.

Hollands adds: "It's a simple fact that many funds fail to beat their benchmarks over the long run after all the fees have been taken - so investors need to consider their fund managers carefully and keep a beady eye on them.

"Surprisingly, many continue to put up with weak or pedestrian performance and it's the fund management companies that benefit. This suffering in silence can be a result of investors not reviewing their investments, a lack of ongoing advice or simply inertia and disinterest."#

This story was originally written for our sister magazine, Money Observer.

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