The top and bottom funds of 2017

Thu 21 Dec 2017

By Brian Dennehy

Membership Access | free

Market commentary


As we near the end of 2017 we take a look back at the best and worst funds for the year. Some surprises, some (unfortunate) repetition.



In a change to normal formats, the tables come first and comment follows.

Top 10 Funds      
Name Sector Fund Size (£m) YTD (%)
Baillie Gifford Greater China  China/Greater China 113.3 46.05
JPM Asia Growth  Asia Pacific Excluding Japan 240.1 40.44
Baillie Gifford Pacific  Asia Pacific Excluding Japan 337.9 40.12
Baring Eastern Trust  Asia Pacific Excluding Japan 93.2 39.7
Janus Henderson China Opportunities  China/Greater China 1080 39.46
Jupiter UK Smaller Companies  UK Smaller Companies 207.5 39.23
Investec Asia Ex Japan  Asia Pacific Excluding Japan 207.5 39.22
Threadneedle China Opportunities  China/Greater China 120.7 37.63
Baillie Gifford Emerging Markets Growth  Global Emerging Markets 729.5 37.54
Baillie Gifford Emerging Markets Leading Cos. Global Emerging Markets 486.8 37
Bottom 10 Funds      
Name Sector Fund Size (£m) YTD (%)
Janus Henderson Inst Overseas Bond Global Bonds 235.5 -3.76
Aviva Inv European Property Property 200.4 -3.88
Kames UK Equity Absolute Return  Targeted Absolute Return 146 -3.89
Scottish Widows International Bond  Global Bonds 858.7 -4.09
Investec Global Gold  Specialist 88.3 -4.51
Threadneedle Dollar Bond  Global Bonds 124.8 -4.79
BlackRock Gold & General  Specialist 1043.9 -6.38
Thesis TM Sanditon European Select  Targeted Absolute Return 115.1 -6.74
Majedie Tortoise  Targeted Absolute Return 1400 -11.92
Investec Global Energy  Specialist 66.1 -15.5

Best funds of 2017

China and Asia dominate the top 10 list.  There are 3 funds from the China sector and funds like Baillie Gifford’s Pacific fund have substantial allocations to China.

One UK Smaller Companies fund makes the top 10, ignoring the constant media focus on Brexit.

Emerging markets make up the rest of the top 10 places. 

Worst funds of 2017

There are some risky funds in the bottom list.  Gold and Energy both feature.  What’s more telling is the number of “lower risk” funds featuring.  There are 3 Targeted Absolute Return funds in the table, down between 3.8% and 11%.  We often say that this sector contains funds taking more risk than investors might expect. Beware.

Global bonds and European property make up the rest of the bottom table. 

The numbers

There is £3,616m of investor money held in the top 10.  In contrast, the bottom table holds £4,278m of investor money, nearly £662m more than the top 10 table.

The average performance of the top 10 funds is 39.64%.  The average of the bottom table is -6.55%.  That’s a huge differential of 46% over 12 months.

There are always opportunities, as we can see from the top table, but also persistent risks.  As we go through the year we’ll continue to highlight the former, while trying to keep a safe distance from the latter.


  • These tables show the importance of maintaining a disciplined process for investing.
  • 2016 was a roller-coaster.  2017 has been much less bumpy.
  • Plan for much greater volatility in 2018. 



Data: 01/01/2017-20/12/2017; universe: UT & OEICs; fund size >£50m; funds that sit on Old Mutual’s platform excluded.


Market commentary


Share this post: