This is how much money you would have made investing R100 in South Africa’s top unit trusts

Investment data group FundsData has published a ranking of the best and worst performing South African general equity unit trusts over the past five years, showing which portfolios would have delivered the strongest and weakest returns.

FundsData tracks the historic performance data of  funds across a wide variety of sectors, showing how much an investment of R100 would have delivered over six months, one, three or five years – assuming that any gains over the period were reinvested into the fund.

As with most historic analysis, past performances of isn’t an indication of future gains, but it does give insight into which funds have a strong track record for delivering returns. For the assessment below we used FundsData’s information on five-year valued.

Among the general funds that have five-year data available (135 funds), only five failed to show any growth at all, with a return under the initial R100.

The other 130 funds showed a return ranging from R101.50 (STANLIB SA Equity) to the top performer, the Fairtree Equity Precient Fund, with a return of R153.01.

The five funds that under-performed ranged from a R99.39 return on the IFM Technical fund, to the worst performer, the Cannon Equity H4 fund, which delivered a five-year return of only R84.53.

Riskiest funds

FundsData provides a volatility score which is used as an indicator of risk attached to any given fund.

To calculate the volatility, ProfileData used the standard deviation of monthly returns over a 36-month period – accepted internationally as the optimum period. This figure was then annualised to give an indication of the level of fluctuation which can be expected (based on history) over a year in normal market conditions.

Simply put, the higher the figure the higher the volatility or risk.

Based on this metric, the Aylett Equity Prescient fund was found to be the least risky, with annualised volatility of 6.56%, delivering afive-year return of R147.04. Counterpoint’s SCI Dividend Equity fund also showed low volatility (6.84%) with a five-year return of R130.40.

On the other side of the spectrum, three Investec funds (H, A, and R) showed the highest volatility (21%+), with returns ranging from R123.98 to R129.59. Other high risk funds include Satrix DIVI ETF (13.77%, five-year return of R136.05) and Sygnia’s DIVI Index (13.74%, with five-year return of R132.30).

The table below outlines the top 10 and bottom 10 funds on the general board – including their volatility rating.

Top Funds Fund Size (Rm) 5-year return on R100 Volatility (ann.)
Fairtree Equity Prescient Fund – A1 R10 164 R153.01 12.70%
Aylett Equity Prescient Fund – Aq R1 226 R147.04 6.56%
Anchor BCI Equity – A R899 R143.17 10.53%
Satrix Momentum Index – A2 R390 R142.13 12.69%
Satrix Momentum Index – A1 R390 R140.50 12.70%
Investec Equity – R R8 351 R139.87 10.94%
Investec Equity – H R8 351 R139.49 10.91%
Allan Gray Equity – C R39 282 R138.83 9.25%
Allan Gray Equity – A R39 282 R137.85 9.26%
Bridge Equity Income Growth – C R329 R137.48 9.82%
Bottom Funds Fund Size (Rm) 5-year return on R100 Volatility (ann.)
Sanlam Multi Managed Equity FoF – A2 R44 R104.26 9.68%
Huysamer Equity Prescient Fund – A R9 R103.81 10.52%
Personal Trust SA Equity – A R500 R103.26 10.04%
CITADEL SA Equity H4 – B R554 R101.99 10.14%
STANLIB SA Equity – A R2 762 R101.51 10.49%
IFM Technical – A R46 R99.39 12.93%
Maestro Equity Prescient Fund – A R34 R97.69 11.11%
3 Laws Climate Change Equity Prescient Fund – A1 R14 R96.30 8.52%
RECM Equity – B R109 R93.77 10.61%
Cannon Equity H4 Fund – A R20 R84.53 9.41%

Among large-cap funds, which generally focus around the JSE’s top 40 companies, of the 24 funds ranked by FundsData, only two under-performed over five years.

The STANLIB Swix 40 showed the greatest return, delivering R130.78 after five years, while the NewFunds Shari-ah Top40 Index tracked the lowest, returning only R94.50.

Most of the top funds showed similar returns, pointing to the general stability of the top-40 trackers, while the risk/volatility rates were also around the same.

The under-performers tended to be the funds that gave equal weighting to the top40 companies, or incorporated large-cap stocks outside of the top 40.

The table below outlines the top five and bottom five funds on the large cap index – including their volatility rating.

Top Funds Fund Size (Rm) 5-year return on R100 Volatility (ann.)
STANLIB Swix 40 -A R1 013 R130.78 12.59%
Satrix Swix Top 40 – A R1 014 R129.28 12.82%
Ashburton Top 40 ETF R4 639 R129.04 12.43%
STANLIB Top 40 – A R4 626 R128.94 12.42%
Satrix 40 – A R4 635 R128.86 12.62%
Bottom Funds Fund Size (Rm) 5-year return on R100 Volatility (ann.)
Saffron SCI Large Cap – A R216 R116.67 10.58%
CoreShares Top 40 Equally Weighted ETF R109 R111.58 11.06%
Satrix Equally Weighted Top 40 Index – A1 R178 R110.07 10.46%
NewFunds S&P GIVI SA Top 50 R86 R95.53 13.50%
NewFunds Shari-ah Top40 Index R51 R94.50 15.97%

All data sourced from FundsData, as at 8 and 9 January 2019.


Read: How South Africa’s top 40 companies performed in 2018

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This is how much money you would have made investing R100 in South Africa’s top unit trusts