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Author: Patrick Cairns|

10 January 2013 11:55

The Top Unit Trusts of 2012

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Who were last year's best performers?

ORAPA – For many market watchers, 2012 was a surprisingly good year for the JSE. The All-Share index recorded its best annual performance since 2009, growing 22% over the course of the year. 

Spurred by this showing, many local unit trusts gave investors excellent returns over the 12 months to the end of December. The best of them delivered total returns, including dividends, of over 40%.

The below tables list the top 20 funds of the last year. Where a fund has more than one class we have only listed the best. 

Top 10

Fund

Total return

TER (Q3 2012)

Investec Emerging Companies Fund – R

40.71%

1.15%

Nedgroup Investments Entrepreneur Fund - R

40.15%

1.17%

Nedgroup Investments Financials Fund – R 

39.84%

1.33%

Stanlib Industrial Fund – R   

37.54%

1.13%

Sesfikile SCI Property Fund

37.48%

1.55%

Coronation Property Equity Fund

36.94%

1.42%

Investec Property Equity Fund

36.69%

1.42%

BJM Multi-Manager Property Fund  

36.54%

1.05%

Coronation Financial Fund

35.86%

1.45%

Momentum Property Fund

35.70%

1.44%

Source: Moneyweb 

What stands out immediately is that the two top-performers are both small-cap funds. Interestingly, though, they achieved their performances through quite different views.

The Investec Emerging Companies Fund gave far higher weightings to industrials and basic materials and was underweight in retailers. The Nedgroup Investments Entrepreneur Fund, on the other hand, benefited from its relatively large holdings in the likes of Woolworths, Mr Price and Foschini. 

Given the performances of these two funds, it is interesting that there is still not much hype around small caps on the JSE. Investors may still be feeling shy about this sector given the pasting it took in the 2008 market crash.

Of the remaining eight funds in the top ten, five are property funds. This highlights how well this sector performed over 2012. The Sesfikile SCI Property Fund comes out the best of them, which is a strong showing from a fund that was only launched in November 2011. 

Two financial funds make the list on the back of the strong performance of locally-listed financial stocks. It's hardly surprising to see the Nedgroup Investments Financials Fund and the Coronation Financials Fund making the best of this situation. These two are also the top funds in this sector over both the last five years and the last ten years.

The Stanlib Industrial Fund has also been a perennial top performer and again topped the list of local industrial equity funds. It was rewarded for showing continued faith in the likes of MTN, Woolworths and Mr Price.

Top 11-20

Fund

Total return

TER (Q3 2012)

Coronation Industrial Fund

35.59%

1.17%

Discovery Flexible Property Fund

35.26%

1.42%

Mazi Capital MET Equity Fund

35.25%

1.21%

ClucasGray Future Titans Prescient Fund

34.72%

1.57%

Momentum Financials Fund

34.59%

1.44%

Catalyst SA Property Equity Fund

34.35%

1.14%

Stanlib Property Income Fund

34.27%

1.48%

Stanlib SA Equity Fund – R

34.25%

1.14%

Efficient Property Fund

34.09%

1.51%

Prudential Enhanced SA Property Tracker Fund

33.93%

0.76%

Source: Moneyweb 

Once again, there is a predominance of property funds in this list, with another five taking their places here. In total, this means that ten of the 20 best funds last year were from the real estate sector.

The Mazi Capital MET Equity Fund stands out as the best general equity fund of 2012, with the Stanlib SA Equity Fund taking second place on that list. 

Although the ClucasGray Future Titans Prescient Fund is categorised as an asset allocation flexible fund, its mandate is primarily to invest in stocks outside of the JSE Top 40. So this is another good showing by a fund focussed on small caps.

Any assessment of the one year performance of unit trusts must however come with a caveat: 12 months is not much of an investment horizon. What will really give one confidence is unit trusts that perform over the long term. 

It is therefore worth noting that seven of the top 20 funds over the last year, also make the list of the top 20 funds of the last ten years. And all four of last year's leading funds are on that list.

The funds that earn this double accolade are the Nedgroup Investments Entrepreneur Fund, Investec Emerging Companies Fund, Nedgroup Investments Financials Fund, Stanlib Industrial Fund, Coronation Property Equity Fund, Coronation Industrial Fund and Stanlib Property Income Fund. 

For more, visit Moneyweb's Click-a-unit trust/ETF.

*This is a pure rating of unit trusts based on their performance in the 12 months to the end of December 2012. Prudent investors should be aware that past performance is not an indicator of future returns. It is also worth doing one's own analysis on the funds' relative risk profiles and how they compare against their benchmarks.

This is a pure rating of unit trusts based on their performance in the 12 months to the end of December 2012. Prudent investors should be aware that past performance is not an indicator of future returns. It is also worth doing one's own analysis on the funds' relative risk profiles and how they compare against their benchmarks.

Topics: unit trusts



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