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Aberdeen Asset Management has topped online stockbroker Bestinvest's Spot the Dog study of underperforming funds, with more than £2 billion of its funds branded poor performers.
The chief culprit is the £1.3 billion Aberdeen Asia Pacific Equity fund, the largest 'dog' fund in the study, the moniker handed to funds that have underperformed their benchmark over three consecutive 12-month periods, and by 5% or more over three years.
The re-entry of Aberdeen's big Asia fund into the list has seen its 'dog' assets swell from £682 million six months ago, the time of the last report, to £2 billion, more than any other UK fund group.
'In recent years Aberdeen Asset Management has been one of the most prominent groups in the doghouse, but in the last edition we noted a steady decline in the number of funds and assets,' said Bestinvest in its report.
'It is therefore dispiriting to see Aberdeen return to the top of the half of shame once again with both an increase in the number of funds and a rise in assets to more than £2 billion.'
The fund, run by Aberdeen's Asian equities team, returned 38% over the three years to the end of June, lagging the benchmark, the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index, by 7% over that period.
Much of that underperformance was due to a difficult 2015 for the fund, which lost 9.8%, more than double the fall of the benchmark. Since the turn of the year, the fund has been outperforming the benchmark, up 14.4% versus a 13.8% return from the index.
The fund was one of five from the Aberdeen stable to be labelled a dog. Also on the list are the smaller Aberdeen Asia Pacific & Japan Equity , World Equity , World Equity Income and European Smaller Companies Equity funds.
Second on the 'dog' list, running £1.7 billion in underperforming funds, was national financial advice group St James's Place, which offers its own funds with management contracted out to investment groups.
'Purves's investment style focuses on identifying companies he believes are undervalued but this has been sharply out of favour with markets which have favoured quality growth companies in recent years,' said Bestinvest in its report, also taking aim at its high annual charges of 1.61%.
The roster of UK 'dog' funds is down from six at the start of the year, and is now at its lowest level since the stock broker first started compiling the report two decades ago.
Assets in underperforming funds overall have fallen to £7.6 billion, down from £8.6 billion at the start of the year and around £18 billion a year ago.
'The overall drop in funds hitting our exacting criteria is... encouraging but it remains to be seen whether this is a technical blip or a sign of a more meaningful trend coming through,' said Bestinvest managing director Jason Hollands.
He said the strong rally of cyclical stocks in the second half of last year, accelerated by the shock election of Donald Trump as US president, as investors anticipated rising inflation, was likely to have rescued a number of value-focused fund managers from the dog house.
'This bounce, which has since faded, will have lifted – at least temporarily - some of the more value orientated managers out of the doldrums after a prolonged period where quality growth companies have led the way.,' he said.
'The jury is therefore out on whether the industry has really cleaned up its act.'
|Aberdeen||European Smaller Companies Equity , Asia Pacific Equity , Asia Pacific & Japan Equity , North American Equity , World Equity , World Equity Income||£2bn|
|St James's Place||Equity Income , Ethical , Asia Pacific||£1.7bn|
|Henderson||US Growth , World Select , Global Equity Income||£1.2bn|
|Jupiter||Global Equity Income , Global Managed , China , US Small and Mid-Cap Companies||£436.4m|
|First State Investments||Global Resources||£441.6m|
|Old Mutual||Global Best Ideas , Ethical||£377.8m|
|Standard Life||Global Equity Income||£172.1m|
|Martin Currie||European Equity Income , Global Equity Income||£171.3m|