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What are you looking at? The 10 most popular funds on our website

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by Matthew Goodburn on Nov 08, 2012 at 13:57

Invesco Perpetural Monthly Income Plus

Neil Woodford runs 20% of this fund, giving it exposure to solid blue chip equities such as pharmaceuticals giants GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca. The remainder is a bond allocation managed by Paul Read and Paul Causer, investing in a mix of high yield, financial and corporate bonds. Half of their picks are in bank bonds which can dent performance when risk appetite is low, but bounce back strongly in times of positive sentiment. The duo make their calls with the long term in mind, and try to look through market volatility. The fund yields over 6%.

M&G Strategic Corporate Bond

Citywire Selection star pick Richard Woolnough believes 'the banking model is broken'. This means he has just 20% exposure to financials in the portfolio, which is much less than most of his bond fund peers. Instead he thinks the rewards on offer from corporate bonds is high and also has over a third of the portfolio in high yield bonds.

The fund allows him to invest in all parts of the bond market and government positions have been added to positive effect in times of market stress. We rate Woolnough as one of the best bond managers in the UK.

Neptune European Opportunities

Rob Burnett is avoiding European banks, preferring the oil and gas, chemicals and luxury goods sectors. His generally cautious view has not been rewarded in the short term due to the portfolio being impacted by the falling oil price, but he has beaten the index in four of the last five calendar years by adjusting the portfolio through changing macroeconomic conditions.

Standard Life Investments GARS

The fund continues to deliver positive returns from its mix of long and short ideas that look for decorrelated ideas across currencies, interest rates, commodities, equities and bonds. Recent trades also look to exploit the difference in volatility between certain equity indices. Assets have swelled to over £13 billion but the managers are confident their investment style will continue to be effective. The team, headed up by Euan Munro, lost three of its key figures to Invesco Perpetual recently but is adamant it can continue to deliver solid returns.

Newton Global Higher Income

James Harries is one of the best readers of the macro backdrop and remains in bearish mode. He is particularly wary of the Chinese business cycle and global deleveraging but this has not stopped him delivering strong returns over the last year and over all time periods since the fund was launched. He is heavily backing the US and its currency and those countries with financial clout such as Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Singapore. The fund is overweight high yielding tobacco and pharmaceutical companies while still avoiding financial companies.

Invesco Perpetual High Income

Doubt Neil Woodford at your peril. While he is prone to bouts of underperformance he has yet to be proven wrong over the longer term. Recently his trademark defensive stance turned the corner and an excellent 18 months has put him back at the top of the sector. Big stakes in health care and positions in UK and US pharmaceuticals helped him to avoid the worst of the falls in the third quarter of 2011 and provided a strong platform. These allocations coupled with very little in energy and materials are symptomatic of his bearish view on the UK and global economy. One for those prepared to sit it out over the long term.

Standard Life Inv UK Equity Unconstrained

This is our punchiest pick for investing in UK equities. Industrial names account for over 40% of the fund and Lloyds and Barclays are top ten holdings. Despite macroeconomic risks, Ed Legget thinks the portfolio is full of quality companies that can grow at above GDP across the business cycle.

The fund tends to suffer when markets fall, but when worries ease it rebounds quickly and tends to lead the way.

Trojan Income

Gold and index linked bonds were the cornerstone of the 8.7% return in 2011, which was a tenth consecutive calendar year of positive returns, and the fund has continued on a solid footing in 2012. The portfolio remains broadly unchanged and although asset classes that lead the way one year have a tendency to lag in the next, the fund has held firm. A third of the portfolio is in high yielding blue chip equities which along with cash at 17%, continues to highlight star pick Sebastian Lyon’s bearish stance.

Jupiter Merlin Income Portfolio

This fund of funds is run by experienced trio John Chatfeild-Roberts, Algy Smith-Maxwell & Peter Lawery. It invests across prudent UK equities, gold and Asia investments, and high yield, strategic bond and emerging market debt funds. The former includes managers such as Invesco Perpetual’s Neil Woodford & Artemis’ Adrian Frost and Adrian Gosden. While subject to change this healthy balance between income and growth has kept the fund at the top of its peer group for a long time, but the growth aspect can mean it suffers a bit during bad periods.

Liontrust Special Situations

Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh’s fund was added to the Citywire Selection list at the start of 2012 and continues to strongly outperform.

During the first half of the year it returned nearly 10%, tripling the gain of the FTSE All Share index. With holdings across large, mid and small caps, the fund has diverse exposure across the market to companies that have intellectual property, high barriers to entry and a high percentage of recurring income.

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