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Morgan Stanley knocks Baillie Gifford off the top spot in FundCalibre’s latest Fund Management Equity Index

Having been pipped to the post in 2021, Morgan Stanley has reclaimed the top spot in FundCalibre’s Fund Management Equity Index 2022*.

Each year, FundCalibre’s research team identifies the asset management companies that have the most consistently strong stock-picking teams. Looking back over the past five years, the analysis shows which companies have demonstrated they can add value for their equity investors year in, year out.

The result is the annual Fund Management Equity Index and the award for the ‘Elite Providers for Equities’ – and Morgan Stanley has now claimed first position in four out of eight annual reports.

Top Ten

Having claimed the top spot for three consecutive years, Morgan Stanley was pushed into second place last year by Baillie Gifford. However, in 2021, the company’s equity franchise staged a comeback. Its average fund returned 44.63% more than its peers over the five years to 31 December 2021.

FSSA, Marlborough, Brown Advisory, Liontrust, Matthews Asia, T. Rowe Price, Nordea and Allianz made up the remainder of the top ten slots.

2021 was a difficult year for growth investors. Nevertheless, the strongest groups have maintained their consistent performance, albeit with lower levels of outperformance.

Darius McDermott, managing director of FundCalibre, commented: “2021 was a difficult year for growth investors. Nevertheless, the strongest groups have maintained their consistency, albeit with lower levels of outperformance. While the gap between growth and value investors is still wide, it does seem to be closing and 2022 could be a much better year for the latter if the first few weeks are anything to go by.

“FundCalibre’s research demonstrates quite clearly that good active management is not a myth or simply good luck – it is very much based on skill. Baillie Gifford and T. Rowe Price, for example, have both been in the top ten for each of the eight surveys we have compiled the report, spanning a time period of more than a decade. That shows consistently excellent stock-picking skills and value added for investors.

“Importantly, there are a wide range of groups that are displaying these skills – from the very big companies through to some very brilliant boutiques. And where underperformance is an issue, companies like Martin Currie have shown that addressing the issues with dedicated resources can result in very successful turnarounds.”

 

Top ten fund groups 2022

 

Download full list

Key findings

 

1. Growth focused houses continue to dominate the top of the table.

Morgan Stanley, Baillie Gifford, T. Rowe Price, Martin Currie and Comgest are all in the top 20. Two companies: Baillie Gifford and T. Rowe Price have impressively been among the top ten companies in each of the eight annual surveys conducted by FundCalibre. This means both have equity teams that have outperformed for the past 12 years. Both are also larger groups with 16 or more qualifying funds. Maintaining such a level of consistency across that many products is extremely impressive.

2. The gap between growth and value is starting to narrow

While Morgan Stanley and Baillie Gifford continue to sit at the top of the charts, their overall outperformance has fallen considerably from a year ago after a difficult 2021. Morgan Stanley Global Opportunity with 95% outperformance and Baillie Gifford American with 186% outperformance where the groups’ top performing funds.

3. But value is still struggling

Houses with large ‘Value’ teams continue to struggle. M&G, Schroder and Invesco, for example, find themselves in the bottom half of the table. However, there are some signs that we might be reaching a turning point as interest rates start to rise. Despite the five-year underperformance, all three of these groups delivered a small outperformance in 2021 – possibly a good sign for the future.

4. Turnarounds are possible

Martin Currie has completed an extraordinary turnaround. Although just outside the top ten in 14th place, it was the second worst performing fund group when FundCalibre first ran the index in 2015. There have been quite a few changes over the past eight years, not least the takeover by Legg Mason. Zehrid Osmani, head of the global unconstrained team, joined from BlackRock in May 2018 and has proved to be a very important addition in helping to turn around a number of strategies. FTF Martin Currie European Unconstrained has been the top performer delivering 47% outperformance.

5. Size doesn’t matter

There are so many thousands of funds in the UK market that it can be quite intimidating when it comes to picking your investments. Often, investors end up falling back on the big familiar names and brands. But this might be a mistake. The UK market is blessed with an incredible array of quite brilliant smaller boutique managers but many of them go under the radar of average investors. Here are a few of the best performers over the past 5 years:

More information, including previous survey results and methodology can be found on this link.

About the index

FundCalibre’s Fund Management Equity Index 2021 looks at most actively-managed equity funds recognised by the Investment Association, and available on platforms for retail clients. It then compares them with their sector averages over a five-year time frame*.

Each fund group’s funds are then collected together to calculate the group’s average fund performance. Fund groups must have a minimum of four qualifying funds to be included in the index.

*Data for the Fund Management Index 2021 is sourced from FE fundinfo, using cumulative statistics % change bid to bid, net income reinvested, over five years to 31/12/2021. 

These are purely statistical charts. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, FundCalibre takes no responsibility for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies therein. Some decisions taken in the production of the index are subjective and are based on FundCalibre’s own opinion. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns. Please note the Fund Management Equity Index does not constitute investment advice. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of any investment you should seek professional advice. An appearance of any fund in this index is not an indication it should be bought, sold or switched. For more information, view our full methodology.

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