Square Mile’s quarterly MI Report captures the viewing patterns among users of our Academy of Funds, which provides insights and data on all funds rated by the company’s 20-strong team of analysts. Below are some of the trends we saw after over the last quarter of 2020.
Q3 may have ended with some mild profit taking in equity markets, but Q4 saw an extraordinary continuation of the rally that started back in late March 2020. Global equity markets rose in mid teen percentages and the UK equity markets were no different. It is perhaps unsurprising that after a poor Q3, UK investors looked to the UK equity market for ideas in Q4, with the IA UK All Companies sector seeing 16.4% of all views in the Academy of Funds. The second most viewed sector was the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares sector with 10.8% of the views, perhaps reflecting a more cautious outlook amongst some advisers following the strong equity rally.
Equities remained the most viewed asset class at 51%, though this was a slight reduction from the 55% seen in Q3. Both multi asset and fixed income benefited from a slight uplift in views. Views of funds in the property sector barely registered at 0.2%, despite some property funds starting to lift the gating that was imposed earlier in the year as the calculation of their NAVs became more certain.
Looking at the most popular funds in the Academy in Q4, a pick-up in interest in UK equities is noticeable with AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities, Ninety One UK Alpha fund and AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap funds all appearing in the top 10. There was also an increased interest in funds with an income outcome with the Aegon Diversified Monthly Income fund, the M&G Episode Income fund and the Schroder Income fund also making an appearance in the top 10.
Within our Responsibly rated universe, the recently rated Baillie Gifford Positive Change fund was the most viewed fund with 13.1%, followed by the EdenTree Investment Funds Amity Short Dated Bond fund with 12.3% of the views. Other responsible funds that received a Square Mile rating in Q4, and appeared on the most viewed list, included the Wellington Global Impact Bond fund, the Storebrand Global ESG Plus fund and the Ninety One UK Sustainable Equity fund.
The fund dashboard has now been accessible on the Academy of Funds website for six months and continues to generate lots of interest, particularly in the Opinion and ESG pillars, within which the Square Mile rating and the company ESG score are two of the most popular features. Identifying whether a fund has a sustainable outcome included in its formal objectives, is also a popular selection.
Within the risk targeted fund space, the newly rated Embark Horizon range of funds also received a significant number of views. However, the offerings from Aberdeen Standard Investments and Legal & General remained the management groups with the highest number of searches within that sector.
The Vanguard LifeStrategy range of funds dominated the views within the passive sector. The L&G International Index trust and Fidelity Index World fund, along with the iShares 100 UK Equity Index fund were the most regularly searched vehicles. This meant that Vanguard Investments retained the top spot in the passive funds sector with BlackRock and Legal & General following close behind.
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