China and American funds dominate performance tables in Q1

Ryan Hughes
3 April 2019

•        Seven of the top 10 performing funds in Q1 focus on China or US
•        Europe and absolute return funds languish at the bottom of the table

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at investment platform AJ Bell, comments:

“The top performing funds for the first three months of this year were dominated by American funds and China-focused equity funds. Almost half of the top 10 performers were China focused funds following a 27% advance in the SSE Composite Index in the first quarter. The same trend was seen in investment trusts, with JP Morgan Chinese Investment Trust and Fidelity China Special Situations up around 25%.

“Funds such as the JP Morgan US Small Cap Growth and Brown Advisory US Smaller Companies fund highlight the stellar performance of American markets in the first three months of the year, with the S&P 500 up 14.4% overall. 

“All major equity markets delivered a positive return in the first quarter, with the FTSE 250 up 9.9% and the FTSE 100 up 9.2%. With the Federal Reserve and other central banks essentially saying that interest rate rises are on hold, this gave investors’ confidence to pile into risk assets in the belief that central banks will provide a back stop to markets. Whether this is right or indeed healthy while global growth slows is another matter.

“Those posting disappointing returns include the Garraway Absolute Equity fund, which was previously the City Financial Absolute Equity fund but was taken over when City Financial went into administration. The fund has reopened after temporarily suspending dealing and is still subject to a dilution levy for those wanting to get out. 

“European funds also had a prominent showing in the bottom 10 performers, with a slowing European economy and fears about the impact of Brexit hitting those markets. Absolute Return funds continued to have a torrid run, occupying 8 of the bottom 50 funds, and three of the bottom 10 performers. These funds aim to deliver a smoother ride than many funds, but some are clearly not delivering.”

Top performers:


Q1 2019 performance

GAM Star China Equity


TM Cavendish AIM


Smith & Williamson Artificial Intelligence


JPM US Small Cap Growth


Matthews China


JPM Greater China TR


Brown Advisory US Smaller Companies


Aubrey Global Conviction


GS China Opportunity Equity Portfolio


Brown Advisory US Mid-Cap Growth


Source: FE/AJ Bell. Performance on a total return basis, in GBP

Bottom performers:


Q1 2019 performance

VT Garraway Absolute Equity


The VT Oxeye Hedged Income Option


BMO Global Equity Market Neutral V10


Aviva Inv European Property


LF Miton UK Smaller Companies


Thesis TM Sanditon European Select


Carmignac Portfolio Long-Short European Equities


Jupiter Absolute Return


Thesis TM Sanditon UK Select


WAY Absolute Return Portfolio


Source: FE/AJ Bell. Performance on a total return basis, in GBP

Investment trusts
Top performers:


Q1 2019 performance

Leaf Clean Energy Company


3i Group


Allianz Technology Trust


JP Morgan Chinese IT


Fidelity China Special Situations


Workspace Group


Baillie Gifford Edinburgh Worldwide IT




Schroder UK Mid Cap


Lindsell Train IT


Source: FE/AJ Bell. Performance on a total return basis, in GBP

Bottom performers:


Q1 2019 performance

Partners Group Global Opportunities


Vinaland Limited


Bloomsbury Infrastructure India


Tiger Resource


PME African Infrastructure Opportunities


Blue Star Capital


GLI Finance Limited


LXB Retail Properties


RDP Global Resources Investment Trust


Kingswood Holdings


Source: FE/AJ Bell. Performance on a total return basis, in GBP

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