Which Worldwise Investor funds made the shortlist?
In 2010 Robin Hepworth of Ecclesiastical Amity International won Fund Manager of the Year in the Global Equity sector. This sector was changed this year to Global Equity & Income. It is difficult to understand why the title needs to change, but reviewing the awards year on year the categories are constantly shifting. The closest an 'ethically screened' fund came to winning this year was in the Sterling Corporate Award, where Royal London have a case to say 'they were robbed!'.
Sterling Corporate Bond
Eric Holt fund manager of the Royal London Ethical Bond fund was among a list of six up for this award. There was a boring inevitability to M&G winning this award even though the performance was not market leading. This was ethical investment's best chance of emulating Ecclesiastical's success in 2010. The fund managment business is though a distribution business and I suspect M&G's victory is as much a success of their market power as a recognition of their fund management ability.
Winner - Richard Woolnough of M&G Strategic Bond
Ethical funds comprised one third of the shortlist in this category, which is some achievement and worthy of mention. Perhaps the headlines should be reading: "Ethical funds dominate cautious Managed Sector". Do we not keep hearing how how ethical screens increase risk? It clearly is not having much of an impact in the Cautious Managed sector. Indeed the two funds shortlisted have some of the strongest ethical screens in the market today. However, excluding the defensive ability and yield of Tobacco stocks has had an impact over the last three years and perhaps no surprises that Invesco were able to demonstrate better performance and won the award.
Richard Marwood of AXA Ethical Distribution fund and Audrey Ryan and Iain Buckle of Kames Ethical Cautious Managed represented two ethical funds from the six shortlisted.
Winner - Paul Causer, Paul Read and Neil Woodford of Invesco Perpetual Distribution
Best of Specialist Sector
In 2011 this category was simply called 'Specialist - Resources' and was won by the Smith & Williamson Global Gold & Resources fund. This year the 'specialist sector' was expanded into Finance, Property, Natural Resources, Technology and Healthcare, with the compromise being that only one winner was presented an award on the night.
The funds shortlisted in the Natural Resources sector were Bryan Agbabian of Allianz Global Agricultural Trends, Hans Peter Porter, Phillipe Rohner and Arnaud Bischop of the Pictet Water fund and Henry Boucher of Sarasin AgriSar, with the winner being Bryan Agbabian of Allianz. It is easy to see how the Sanlam fund won the overall winner spot and very positive to see that the Natural Resources sector has been introduced and gives a stage to the growing 'environmental thematic' fund universe.
Winner - Kokkie Kooyman of Sanlam Global Financial