Smaller companies funds avoid the doghouse in Bestinvest’s latest ‘spot the dog’ report

Consistently poor performing funds worth £49.6 billion named and shamed in latest Spot the Dog report published today from Bestinvest.

  • In their latest report, Bestinvest names and shames 119 stock-market investment funds that have consistently underperformed the markets they invest in. The number of mutts has seen a 33% increase over the last year
  • The current kennel includes a heavyweight pack of 15 Great Dane-sized funds, managed by some of the financial services industry’s biggest names, each holding over a billion of investors hard earned cash
  • Full-report is available at www.bestinvest.co.uk/research/spot-the-dog

The latest report has identified 119 investment funds, which collectively represent £49.6 billion of long-term savings. To be included a fund must have met some stringent criteria.

Firstly, it must have delivered a worse return than the market it invests in for each one of the last three 12-month periods on the trot (calendar years 2020, 2019 and 2018). This is to hone in on consistent underachievers rather than those that might have had a brief run of bad luck. Secondly, it must also have underperformed the market it invests in by more than 5% over the entire three year period under review – though the worst in this edition has done so by an impressively dire 42%!

The report covers funds investing across a wide selection of markets, including the UK, global equities, North America, Europe, Asia (excluding Japan), Japan and Global Emerging Markets to identify “the worst of the worst”. Some areas are noticeably more prone to consistent underachievers, with the highest count – 38 funds – found in the global equities sector, representing (22% of the global funds universe). Another area with a prolific numbers of dog funds is North America where 21 funds met the criteria.

However, dog funds that invest specifically in smaller companies appear to be an extinct breed. Bestinvest searched for these in the UK, North America, Europe and Japan but could find no funds that matched its criteria for inclusion.

While many of the funds in Spot the Dog are Chihuahuas, with a third of the funds identified being less than £100 million in size, 15 funds are classified by Bestinvest as Great Danes, each of which has over £1 billion of assets. These include funds that are widely held by private investors and managed by groups such as Invesco, St. James’s Place, Schroders and Hargreaves Landsown.

Jason Hollands, Managing Director at Bestinvest, commented:

“The differences between the best and worst performing funds are enormous and so it is essential to choose funds very carefully and then keep a beady eye on them or opt for low-cost trackers instead. The latter won’t beat the returns of market but will closely mimic them.

“Recognising that you might have your money invested in a dog-fund is not as straight-forward as you might think. While 32 of the funds in the report actually lost investors’ money over the last three-years – the worst by -41%! – most of them didn’t. That’s because stock-markets in general have delivered very strong returns over the last decade and so nearly all ships have been lifted by the rising tide, even those with leaks in their hulls.

A full copy of the 32-page report is available to download now. Please visit the download page at www.bestinvest.co.uk/research/spot-the-dog

 The Biggest Beasts in Spot the Dog by Fund Size


FundSize (£ billions)Sector3-year return on £1003-year under performance
1Invesco UK Equity High Income Fund (UK)£3.21UK All Companies£74-21%
2JPM US Equity Income Fund£3.18North America£122-27%
3SPW MM International Equity£3.17Global£125-11%
4St James’s Pl Global Equity£2.58Global£119-13%
5M&G Global Dividend Fund£2.37Global£122-9%
6HL Multi-Manager Income & Growth Trust£2.12UK Equity Income£90-5%
7Merian North American Equity Fund£1.96North America£134-14%
8Invesco European Equity Fund (UK)£1.62Europe Excluding UK£99-17%
9Dimensional Emerging Mkts Core Eqty£1.49Glb. Emerging Markets£109-9%
10Invesco UK Equity Income Fund (UK)£1.48UK All Companies£75-19%
11Invesco Global Equity Fund (UK)£1.23Global£107-27%
12Artemis Global Income Fund£1.22Global Equity Income£102-30%
13Man GLG Japan CoreAlpha Fund£1.12Japan£84-34%
14Schroder Tokyo£1.11Japan£104-14%
15St James´s Place Global£1.06Global£111-21%
16Dimensional International Core Eq£0.95Global£126-11%
17Merian Global Equity Fund£0.90Global£125-9%
18ASI UK Income Unconstrained Equity£0.81UK Equity Income£80-14%
19Schroder QEP Global Core Fund£0.75Global£126-8%
20Janus Henderson Global Equity Income Fd£0.71Global Equity Income£110-24%



The Most Significant Underperformers in Spot the Dog versus the Market 

FundSize (£ billions)Sector3-year return on £1003-year under performance
1M&G North American Value Fund£0.17North America£107-42%
2GAM North American Growth Fund£0.08North America£108-40%
3Legg Mason IF ClearBridge Glbl Eq Inc Fd£0.02Global Equity Income£95-39%
4Fidelity American Special Situations Fd£0.49North America£110-38%
5Ninety One Global Special Sits Fund£0.24Global£94-38%
6Schroder Global Equity Income Fund£0.23Global Equity Income£98-36%
7TB Saracen Global Income & Growth Fund£0.09Global Equity Income£98-35%
8LF ASI Income Focus Fund£0.18UK Equity Income£59-35%
9NFU Mutual Global Growth Fund£0.03Global£99-35%
10UBS Global Enhanced Equity Income Fund£0.04Global Equity Income£97-35%
11Man GLG Japan CoreAlpha Fund£1.12Japan£84-34%
12M&G Global Strategic Value Fund£0.29Global£98-34%
13Schroder Global Recovery Fund£0.34Global£100-33%
14Jupiter North American Income Fund£0.14North America£116-33%
15ASI World Income Equity Fund£0.04Global Equity Income£99-33%
16VT De Lisle America£0.04North America£116-33%
17SJP Global Smaller Companies£0.15Global£102-32%
18Quilter Investors Glbl Uncons Eq£0.12Global£101-31%
19Schroder European Alpha Income Fund£0.10Europe Excluding UK£85-31%
20Invesco US Equity Fund (UK)£0.37North America£119-30%


Note:  Three-year underperformance is the extent to which a fund lagged the market it invests in, not the absolute return delivered by the fund. All data is total return (including dividends reinvested) for periods to 31 December 2020.


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