Russia on top and Woodford woes in Q2

Ryan Hughes
1 July 2019

•         Russia comes top, as the best-performing sector
•         Woodford’s four funds among the worst performers
•         Retail REITs hit as high-street gets tougher

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

“Russia funds dominate the top performing investments in the second quarter of the year, with the market contributing to the performance of six of the top 10. The FTSE Russia index is up almost 20% in the past three months, and almost 35% in the year so far. In a large part this is driven by the rise in the oil price, which has rallied on the back of increasing tensions in the Middle East while the largest stock in the index, Sberbank has also performed well. The rise in Russian markets has provided a boost to Emerging Europe funds that have a hefty allocation to the country, such as BlackRock GF Emerging Europe, which has half the fund in Russian stock.

“On the losing side of the coin the worst performers were a mixed bag. Unsurprisingly, given the press attention already given to his performance, Neil Woodford was among the biggest fallers, with all his four funds making the worst performing lists. His flagship fund notched up a more than 13% loss, while the Woodford Income Focus fund also came in the bottom 10. The St James’s Place version of his fund, which he was axed from as manager last month, has not been spared despite not having the brace of small, illiquid companies in the portfolio as his flagship offering. Patient Capital hit the worst performing investment trusts list, as investors sold out of the trust amid contagion fears and the effect of any overlap in holdings.

“Garraway Absolute Equity, known to most people under its former name of City Financial Absolute Equity, continued to struggle after being bailed out by Garraway – the fund has also shrunk from £183m in March to just £63m today as investors sold out. The presence of a number of retail-focused Real Estate Investment Trusts on the worst performing list shows just how hard it is on the high-street at the moment.

“Among the trusts, Lindsell Train was up more than 30%, but investors need to look under the bonnet here, as the trust is trading at a soaring 80% premium, with even manager Michael Lindsell warning that at this price it now represents a risky investment.”


Top performers:


Q2 performance (%)

Pictet Russia Index


BlackRock GF Emerging Europe


HSBC GIF Russia Equity


JPM Brazil Equity


JPM Russia


Pictet Emerging Europe


Baring Russia


Barings Eastern Europe Fund


Schroder ISF Emerging Europe


Scottish Widows Latin American


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

Bottom performers:


Q2 performance (%)

VT Garraway Absolute Equity


Omnis Income & Growth


LF Woodford Equity Income


LF Woodford Income Focus


Standard Life Investments UK Equity Recovery


Standard Life Strategic Investment Allocation


Schroder ISF Global Energy


SJP UK High Income


Majedie Tortoise


MFM Techinvest Technology


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

Investment trusts

Top performers:


Q2 performance (%)

A&J Mucklow Group


JP Morgan Russian Securities


Green REIT


Lindsell Train IT


Brevan Howard Macro


Montanaro European Smaller Companies Trust


Jupiter European Opportunities


3i Group


BlackRock Latin American IT


Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust


Source: FE/AJ Bell. Performance on a total return basis, in GBP. Limited to trusts over £100m in market cap.

Bottom performers:


Q2 performance (%)

Capital & Regional


CATCo Reinsurance Opportunities


Woodford Patient Capital Trust


INTU Properties




Phoenix Spree Deutschland


NewRiver REIT


Triple Point Social Housing REIT




CEIBA Investments


Source: FE/AJ Bell. Performance on a total return basis, in GBP. Limited to trusts over £100m in market cap.

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