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Check now: have you got money in one of these consistently underperforming funds?

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The number of serially underperforming actively-managed funds available to UK investors has jumped from 37 to 54 in just six month, according to a report.

It also revealed £18bn of investor money is languishing in these consistently poor performing products, up from £17.6bn in July 2015.

The twice-yearly Spot the Dog report from broker Tilney Bestinvest, which is loathed by fund management companies, ‘names and shames’ the worst performing investment funds.

A ‘dog’ is defined as a fund available to retail investors which has underperformed in each of the last three consecutive 12-month periods, and by 10 per cent or more over the three years.

Sectors in the doghouse

According to the report, the global equities sector has the most ‘dog’ funds, with 18. But the market with the highest ratio of dogs as a proportion of funds available continues to be North America, where 20 ‘dog’ funds represent 18% of the sector universe.

Fund groups in the doghouse

Several fund houses featured prominently on the list. (See list of funds below).

Aberdeen Asset Management topped the list of shame with 11 serial underperformers. However, the real picture is even worse for the firm as it is also the underlying manager for a further seven funds run for Scottish Widows (three dog funds), Halifax, (two), TU Fund Managers (one) and St James’s Place (one).

The fund group with the largest assets under management within ‘dog’ funds remains Prudential-owned M&G with £6.4bn. The firm has held this position for the last three consecutive reports from July 2014. The report said this is due to the “continued woes” of its former flagship M&G Recovery and M&G Basics funds, along with M&G North American Dividend fund and the M&G Global Recovery fund.

UK equities

On a more positive note, some sectors have relatively few ‘dogs’ including UK equities, including both UK All Companies and UK Equity Income funds, which has only eight ‘dog’ funds out of a universe of 246.

The report said many UK equity managers have outperformed the FTSE All Share Index in recent years, underweighting, or completely avoiding, the problematic oil and gas and miming stocks, unlike index trackers, which by their definition, have remained fully exposed.

Europe is another area where dog funds are a rare breed, with only four ‘dogs’ out of a possible 97.

Time to sell?

Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Bestinvest, says it is important to stress this is not a ‘sell’ list. However, he says if you own a fund in the ‘dog’ list you should consider whether to persevere or switch elsewhere.

The reasons your fund underperforms

There are various reasons why funds go through periods of underperformance including a new fund manager in place or a change of investment approach.

But if there is nothing to convince you that prospects are improving, Hollands says you shouldn’t let inertia get the better of you

“Consider a switch to a fund of better pedigree,” he says.

“These days fund switches can usually be executed very easily and inexpensively online.”