Top-performing unit trusts in SA over the past decade

Global equity has dominated the performance tables over the past 10 years, but the longer-term picture looks very different.
Morningstar data shows that the top-performing portfolio available to South Africans since the start of 2012 was the GinsGlobal US Equity Index fund. Image: Shutterstock

Not a single fund registered for sale in South Africa has outperformed the US market over the past 10 years. This includes all local portfolios as well as global funds available to South African investors.

According to Morningstar data, the top-performing portfolio available to South Africans since the start of 2012 was the GinsGlobal US Equity Index fund. It has delivered a 10-year annualised return of 22.1% in rand terms.

This fund tracks the MSCI USA index, and its performance illustrates that tracking the US market has been a winning strategy for a significant period of time.

This strength in the US market has also translated into dominant performance by global equity funds in general.

Of the 20 top-performing funds over the past decade available in South Africa, 17 invest in global equities. Of the remaining funds, two are US equity portfolios and one is an aggressive global multi-asset fund.

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The highest return from an active fund over 10 years has been the 21.9% per annum generated by the R26 billion Old Mutual Global Equity fund. That portfolio is managed by Citywire+ rated Ian Heslop and Amadeo Alentorn at Jupiter Asset Management.

It has the notable record of only underperforming the median fund in its Morningstar category in one of the last 10 calendar years. That was in 2020, and even then, it was up 19.2%.

The largest fund among the top 10 is the R31.4 billion Ninety One Global Franchise feeder fund managed by Clyde Rossouw. It has returned 18.9% per annum over this period.

This portfolio has generated a positive double-digit return in nine of the past 10 years. The only blemish on that record was the -12.7% drop it experienced in 2016.

Fund 10-year annualised return
GinsGlobal US Equity Index fund 22.1%
Old Mutual Global Equity fund R 21.9%
SEI GIF Global Select Equity USD Instl Acc 20.7%
SFL Stanlib High Alpha Global Equity fund A 20.7%
Stout Stanlib Global Equity fund A 19.5%
Stanlib Global Equity feeder fund R 19.3%
SFL Stanlib Multi-Manager Global Equity fund A 19.2%
Ninety One Global Franchise feeder fund A 18.9%
AF Investments Global Equity feeder fund 18.8%
GinsGlobal Global Equity Index fund 18.7%
Allan Gray – Orbis Global Equity feeder fund 18.6%
Nedgroup Investments Global Equity feeder fund A 18.4%
SIS International Growth FoF 18.3%
Stanlib Multi-Manager Global Equity feeder fund B1 18.2%
Stout Stanlib Offshore America fund 18.0%

Source: Morningstar

The best-performing South African fund over the past 10 years is the R23.7 billion Fairtree Equity Prescient fund, managed by the Citywire A-rated duo of Stephen Brown and Cor Booysen, which has gained 17.7% per annum over this period.

Read: The top-performing global equity funds available in SA

Remarkably, this fund has been a top-quartile performer in its Morningstar category in nine of the last 10 calendar years. And despite the weakness in the South African market over this period, it has delivered positive double-digit growth in eight of those years.

Longer term

Extending the review period to 15 years, however, changes the picture quite materially.

While the GinsGlobal US Equity Index fund has once again been the top performer, only two other funds in the top 10 are global equity portfolios – the Old Mutual Global Equity fund and the Allan Gray-Orbis Global Equity feeder fund.

The top-performing South African portfolio over this period has been the Aylett Equity Prescient fund. The R4.3 billion portfolio managed by Walter Aylett is up an annualised 13.9% over the past decade-and-a-half.

The other notable top performers focused on local assets are the SIM Top Choice Equity fund managed by Citywire A-rated Cromwell Mashengete and Andrew Kingston, the Centaur BCI Flexible fund managed by Roger Williams, the BlueAlpha BCI All Seasons fund managed by Gary Quinn, and the 36One BCI Flexible Opportunity fund managed by Citywire + rated Cy Jacobs.

Fund 15-year annualised return
GinsGlobal US Equity Index fund 14.2%
Aylett Equity Prescient fund B3 13.9%
Old Mutual Global Equity fund R 13.8%
Select BCI Worldwide Flexible fund A 13.8%
SIM Top Choice Equity fund B1 13.6%
Centaur BCI Flexible fund A 13.5%
SIM Industrial fund R 13.4%
Allan Gray – Orbis Global Equity feeder fund 13.0%
Ninety One Commodity fund R 12.8%
Coronation Resources fund P 12.8%
BlueAlpha BCI All Seasons fund A 12.6%
Ninety One Global Franchise feeder fund A 12.6%
Coronation Industrial fund P 12.6%
36One BCI Flexible Opportunity fund A 12.4%
Stanlib Global Equity feeder fund R 12.4%

Source: Morningstar

Over 20 years, the performance table takes on a completely different look.

Not a single one of the 20 top performers over the past 10 years is also in the top 20 over this period. In fact, the best-performing global equity fund ranks only 73rd out of all funds over the past 20 years.

The list of leading performers over this period is populated by a number of more volatile South African sector-specific, deep value and small-cap strategies.

There are, however, also a number of established local equity funds on the list, including the M&G Equity fund, Coronation Equity fund, Coronation Top 20 fund, Ninety One Equity fund, Allan Gray Equity fund and M&G Dividend Maximiser fund.

Fund 20-year annualised return
Coronation Industrial fund P 17.4%
Ninety One Value fund R 17.0%
Coronation Resources fund P 16.8%
Nedgroup Investments Entrepreneur fund R 16.7%
Ninety One Commodity fund R 16.3%
M&G Equity fund A 15.8%
Coronation Equity fund R 15.5%
Coronation Top 20 fund A 15.4%
Ninety One Equity fund R 15.4%
Allan Gray Equity fund A 15.3%
M&G Dividend Maximiser fund A 15.1%
Momentum Small/Mid-Cap fund A 14.7%
Nedgroup Investments Mining & Resources fund R 14.7%
PSG Equity fund A 14.7%
SIM Small Cap fund R 14.7%

Source: Morningstar

Patrick Cairns is South Africa Editor at Citywire, which provides insights and information for professional investors globally.

This article was first published on Citywire South Africa here, and republished with permission.

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