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Funds to be thankful for

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As American families sit down to the traditional Thanksgiving feast, UK investment experts give thanks for their favourite funds.

Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Bestinvest:

“The funds we are really thankful for this year are those which invest in markets such as Japan and Europe but which have hedged the currency exposure back to sterling. That’s really boosted returns over the year.

A couple of funds that we rate highly that have benefited from rising markets but have also hedged the currency back into sterling are the Schroder Tokyo Z GDP Hedged fund and JPM Europe Dynamic ex UK GBP Hedged. Both have sister funds that do not hedge the currency, so you can very directly see the benefit of the strategy.

In the case of the Schroder fund, the traditional Schroder Tokyo fund has delivered a total return of four per cent over the last 12-months, outperforming a flat Japanese market as measure by the Topix Index. However, the currency hedged version has powered ahead by 18 per cent.

Likewise, the JPM Europe Dynamic fund has notched up a 1 per cent return over a 12-months period over a period when the FTSE Europe ex UK Index dipped 1 per cent. However, the JPM Europe Dynamic UK GBP Hedged version has translated that into a 10 per cent return.”

John Ventre, portfolio manager of the Old Mutual Spectrum fund range

“We’ve done very well out of our UK Commercial Property investments this year, notably the M&G Property Portfolio. Commercial property had a tough time for a few years following the 2008 crash. Many leveraged institutional funds took time to unwind their positions but this overhang was cleared by the end of 2012.

The story of the next couple of years has been a significant re-rating in the asset class. We expect more to come as the asset class still looks good value relative to comparable exposures. Particularly, there is an element of inflation protection because rent reviews tend to be one way: Higher. We like the M&G fund because it is diversifying away from the very top end of the market in the UK into good quality secondary properties around the country. This should be a successful strategy as the UK economic recovery broadens.”

Mona Shah, research analyst at Rathbone Multi-Asset Portfolios

“The Aspect Diversified Trends fund is held in our Rathbone Total Return and Strategic Growth Portfolios. It is a CTA fund  – ‘Commodity Trading Advisers’ – hedge funds that follow market trends – and had a disappointing 2012 and 2013, down four per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively. This was due to the lack of persistence in trends. Many investors lost patience with this strategy; however, we are pleased we stuck with it as it is +15 per cent so far this year.”

Ben Yearsley, head of investment research at Charles Stanley Direct

Jupiter India is my choice. India had been in the doldrums for a while as politicians were in a deadlock and nothing was happening. That all changed in May when Modi was elected on a pro-reform, pro-business agenda. The markets subsequently soared. Potential is huge.

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