Analysis from Barclays Stockbrokers shows that investors piled into Hideo Shiozumi's (pictured) Legg Mason Japan Equity fund for the second month in a row.
Investors were drawn to the fund's high risk strategy as Japan embarked on a series of aggressive measures to reinflate its economy with the vehicle the best seller among Barclays clients for the second consecutive month in May.
However, while investors will have enjoyed some stunning gains in the first three weeks of May, the Japanese correction which started on 23 May on fears quantitative easing is coming to end in the US means those who got into the fund late are sitting on some heavy losses. These losses will have been amplified in June as the Japanese market entered bear market territory.
For those who have been long-term backers of the fund, gains have been exceptional, with the fund returning 135.7% in the three years to 21 June versus a 17.4% rise in the benchmark. However, this has come at a standard deviation of 6.69, underlining the level of risk investors are taking with this fund with only two other funds in the peer group more volatile.
Overall, Barclays saw a 200% year on year increase in the amount of money invested by clients into funds last month.
Within this 30% of the top 20 funds purchased in May were UK focused, while Asia Pacific and Global Emerging Markets accounted for 25% of the top sellers.
There was also signs that gold was regaining some lustre among investors with the BlackRock Gold & General fund back in the top 20 for only the second time this year.
Commenting on the figures, Barclays Stockbrokers' head of investor product Alastair Thaw said: 'The analysis shows client investment into funds has continued to grow in May 2013, and is an encouraging sign against the old adage “sell in May and come back on St. Leger’s day”.
'There were record highs in the Japanese markets in May also, and this was reflected in client interest in Japan-focused funds. Clients continued to seek exposure to the UK - despite on-going volatility in UK markets - as well as to take advantage of funds with a specialised investment focus.'
The top 20 sellers:
12) FundSmith Equity