Neil Woodford’s Equity Income fund has been one of the most popular mutual funds in the UK in recent years. Nick Train’s UK Equity fund is another consistently rated highly by investors.
Yet right now, neither appears in the top five positions of Hargreaves Lansdown’s ‘Most Popular’ fund section, which judges popularity by total inflows over the last week. So what are the five most popular funds now? And should you get on board?
Jupiter India Fund
In fifth place, the Jupiter India Fund invests in Indian equities with a focus on both large-caps and small and medium-sized businesses.
Fund manager Avinash Vazirani takes a long-term investment approach, looking for companies whose growth prospects are overlooked by the market. Over the last year, the fund has returned 11.3%.
My view: If you’re a risk-tolerant investor, a small allocation to India with a long-term view could be a wise strategy. With a middle class enjoying rapid wealth appreciation, the long-term potential here is significant.
HL Multi-Manager Special Situations Trust
Next is the HL Multi-Manager Special Situations Trust which is a ‘fund of funds.’ This means that instead of investing in stocks itself, it invests in a portfolio of funds. Over the last year, the trust has returned 15.7%.
My view: I’m not the biggest fan of fund of funds. That’s because their fees are often quite high – you’re paying two sets of fund managers. In this case, the ongoing charge is a relatively high 1.5%. Investors are better off picking individual funds themselves, in my opinion.
Fundsmith Equity Fund
Coming in at third place is Terry Smith’s Fundsmith Equity Fund. This is a global fund that invests in a concentrated portfolio of high-quality securities. Top holdings include Paypal, Microsoft and Amadeus. Over the last year, it has returned 23%.
My view: For those looking to diversify internationally, this fund is a solid option. Terry Smith has an excellent long-term record, generating a five-year return of 160%. Investors should bear in mind that as a concentrated fund, it’s a little riskier than a broad portfolio.
FP CRUX European Special Situations Fund
At second place the FP CRUX European Special Situations Fund invests in European equities (ex UK).
Fund manager Richard Pease aims to generate long-term capital growth by investing in high-quality European companies that are undervalued. The portfolio contains 60-80 holdings, with a tilt towards mid-caps that generate earnings internationally. Over the last year, the fund has returned 19.9%.
My view: Having some exposure to Europe in your portfolio is a sensible idea, as the region is home to many world-class companies. With a five-year return of 97% and an ongoing fee of just 0.7%, this one looks decent.
First State Asia Focus fund
That brings us to the most popular fund right now which is the First State Asia Focus fund. It invests in equities across Asia and has significant exposure to India, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Over the last year, the return is 23%.
My view: I’m bullish on Asia over the long term, as the region has compelling growth potential. Having said that, Asian stock markets have enjoyed a strong run over the last two years. This fund, in particular, has risen around 60%. With that in mind, I’d be inclined to wait for a pull-back here before committing capital.
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