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Yield-starved investors turn to income-focused funds

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Income funds proved popular with investors over the ISA season and the CF Woodford Equity Income Fund topped the tables from data revealed by both Fidelity International and Tilney Bestinvest.

The 10 most popular funds on the Fidelity Personal Investing Platform, which includes FundsNetwork, and those selected by Tilney Bestinvest customers from 1 January to 5 April 2016 have been published.

The CF Woodford Equity Income fund, run by star fund manager Neil Woodford takes top place in both sets of data and the Fundsmith Equity fund, run by Terry Smith, makes the top three.

Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity said the top 10 funds demonstrated that investors are still hungry for income-yielding investments.

He said: “In this persistently low interest rate environment, our top-selling funds over the ISA season show that yield-starved investors have, unsurprisingly, continued to turn to income-focused investments.

“Equity income, in particular, has proved to be a popular hunting ground for income seekers, with familiar names such as Neil Woodford’s Woodford Equity Income fund, Mark Barnett’s Invesco Perpetual High Income fund and Michael Clark’s Fidelity MoneyBuilder Dividend fund all featuring in our bestsellers league table.

“For those looking for a growth-oriented option, investors are putting their faith in one of the UK’s most successful growth managers in recent years: Terry Smith. His Fundsmith Equity Fund has an excellent track record over five years and favours a concentrated portfolio of high-quality companies that aims to deliver steady and reliable returns, even in a low growth world.”

The top 10 bestselling funds across Fidelity Personal Investing and FundsNetwork based on gross sales over the tax year end period – from 1 January to 5 April include:

1) CF Woodford Equity Income fund
2) Fundsmith Equity fund
3) Invesco Perpetal High Income
4) Fidelity MoneyBuilder Income fund
5) Fidelity Index UK fund
6) Jupiter European fund
7) Fidelity MoneyBuilder Dividend fund
8) Fidelity MoneyBuilder Balanced fund
9) Invesco Perpetual Distribution
10) Henderson UK Property Unit Trust.

Tilney Bestinvest said investors stuck with proven managers with strong track records to guide them through market volatility. Income funds were also popular as investors turned to cash-generating companies able to pay-out regular dividends.

Jason Hollands, managing director at Tilney Bestinvest said: “There are no prizes for guessing who tops our chart of best sellers over the ISA season. It is of course the irrepressible Woodford Equity Income fund. Since its launch less than two years ago, the fund has ballooned to a beefy £8.28bn as investors continue to put their faith in him. The fund continues to have a high exposure to both tobacco (Imperial Brands, British American Tobacco and Reynolds American) and healthcare companies (AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche).”

And of the Fundsmith Equity fund, Hollands added: “Fundsmith Equity’s manager Terry Smith has made a name for himself as a charismatic and no-nonsense investor. His straight-talking approach has made him popular with investors, and his fund is in at number three, having enjoyed a strong start to the year, so far beating its MSCI World benchmark by 4.5%. Strong contributions in March from Newcastle-based business solutions firm Sage have kept the fund at the top of the charts.”

The most popular funds selected by clients using Tilney Bestinvest’s online investment services over 1 January to 5 April 2016, include:

1) CF Woodford Equity Income
2) Tilney Bestinvest Growth Portfolio
3) Fundsmith Equity
4) Threadneedle UK Equity Income
5) Threadneedle European Select
6) Tilney Bestinvest Aggressive Growth Portfolio
7) Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders
8) HSBC American Index
9) Liontrust Special Situations
10) AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities.