Stocktake: Top-performing funds become tomorrow’s flops

Having a ‘mere peek at track records’ isn’t going to help you beat the markets

Photograph: iStock.

Photograph: iStock.

 

The latest persistence scorecard from S&P Global Indices confirms the old cliché that past fund performance really is no guide to future performance. Only one-fifth of the top quartile of US funds between 2010 and 2014 stayed in the top quartile for 2015-19. Indeed, 39 per cent of the top funds either closed or changed their style.

As for the idea a fund manager can enjoy repeat success year after year – forget about it. Just 0.18 per cent (fewer than one in 500) of 2015’s top-quartile funds maintained that performance over the next four years. With investing, it’s very hard to distinguish skill from luck. Having a “mere peek at track records” isn’t going to help you beat the markets.

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