Following on from our Q115 platform statistics, this week we're looking at which funds and fund groups were hot on platforms and why. The table below shows the top five fund groups and the top five funds by gross sales for the platform universe* in the first quarter of 2015.
Invesco headed up the table for the second quarter in a row. It has staged a steady recovery since Woodford's departure and has five funds in the top 25 funds. It is renowned for its income expertise, but its IP Global Targeted Returns fund (a rival to Standard Life's popular Global Absolute Returns Strategy) is beginning to turn advisers' heads. Now that GARS has become so big, some advisers will be keen to diversify exposure to GARS, so credible rivals will be considered. With GARS by far and away from its biggest seller, Standard Life should develop and bring on other funds of GARs quality.
It's been an exciting week in lots of ways. Firstly, there was the announcement that Neil Woodford is leaving Invesco Perpetual next year, and that his funds are to be managed by Mark Barnett. The industry reacted with immense shock and I suppose that after 25 years, Woodford was very much an integral part of the furniture. But to a certain extent it was also unsurprising — in a world where fund managers jump ship on an all too regular basis, it was just as surprising that he hadn't gone to another fund manager, or started up his own fund group years before. The difficulty that Invesco now faces is a potentially significant shift of assets from its two flagship funds to other fund managers; some fund managers are already rubbing their hands in glee at the idea of the fresh flows coming their way, but hopefully some will give Barnett the benefit of the doubt. Whatever happens, he is going to find Woodford a very hard act to follow.