It feels like I've been writing US-China trade wars and Brexit in investment commentaries since the Flood. Potential new investors have been spectating for months, waiting for resolution of these issues, particularly given 2018's annus horribilis where cash was king (if a less-than-generous one).
Jittery investors are rushing to buy gold and government bonds as the threat of a global recession sparked by Trump and his trade wars intensifies. Such is the fear that according to Deutsche Bank, investors have apparently invested US$15trn (25% of the total bond market) in negative-yielding government bonds — a number that has tripled since October 2018.
Proponents of the passive, index-tracking approach to equity investing often make their case by underlining the efficiency of stock markets. This is especially true of the US, where research and the speed with which information is translated into price movements can make stock selection a pointless exercise.
The press is awash with stories and articles about the pros and cons of passive and active investment, active advice and robo advice, fees and the like. The often wild claims (fake news??) give investors unrealistic ideas about long-term investments and make it difficult for them to make informed choices.
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.