How fund managers shape up
OLD Mutual and Sage have been rated top-performing unit trust management companies over the last three years because of their consistently high performance across their full suite of funds.
According to a Plexus Asset Management survey, over a two-year period Investec/Metboard is the top fund, while over one year BOE and Sage share the honours.
Over the more important three-year period - emphasised by Plexus because of the longer-term nature of unit trust investments, Mutual and Sage come out on top.
The survey shows which management companies do well in all areas of investment.
Prieur du Plessis of Plexus says: "Most unit trust companies manage a range of trusts. They often boast a top-performing trust or two, but few can consistently claim top performers across the broad spectrum.
"Having one top-performing unit trust out of a number of funds does not really prove much.
"With enough unit trusts under management - and a bit of luck or a smidgen of investment ability - it is bound to happen now and again."
Du Plessis says selecting a fundamentally sound management company is the first step in purchasing unit trusts. After that you can select the individual fund and have greater confidence that it will still be a top performer in two years.
If you are with a good management company with a wide range of products you will be able to switch between funds rather than embarking on the costly exercise of changing companies.
It costs around 5% to move your cash from one unit trust to another with a different management company, for example, from Guardbank to Investec.
However, if an investor merely wants to move within an individual management company's suite of funds, the cost is somewhere between 0% and 1%.
Plexus plans to incorporate performance data over a five-year period once sufficient funds qualify for the extended term.
Not all funds qualified for the survey. Sectors were only included if they had at least four funds.
Management companies were only considered if they had at least three unit trusts under management during that period. For example, Metropolitan and Norwich were excluded because they had too few funds under management.
Fedgro and RMB were measured over the one-year period only and Investec/Metboard, BOE and Absa were measured over the one- and two-year periods only. Top of page