Not a single fund registered for sale in South Africa has outperformed the US market over the past 10 years. This includes all local portfolios as well as global funds available to South African investors.

According to Morningstar data, the top-performing portfolio available to South Africans since the start of 2012 was the GinsGlobal US Equity Index fund. It has delivered a 10-year annualised return of 22.1% in rand terms.

This fund tracks the MSCI USA index, and its performance illustrates that tracking the US market has been a winning strategy for a significant period of time.

This strength in the US market has also translated into dominant performance by global equity funds in general. Of the 20 top-performing funds over the past decade available in South Africa, 17 invest in global equities. Of the remaining funds, two are US equity portfolios and one is an aggressive global multi-asset fund.

The highest return from an active fund over 10 years has been the 21.9% per annum generated by the R26bn Old Mutual Global Equity fund. That portfolio is managed by Citywire + rated Ian Heslop and Amadeo Alentorn at Jupiter Asset Management.

It has the notable record of only underperforming the median fund in its Morningstar category in one of the last 10 calendar years. That was in 2020, and even then it was up 19.2%.

The largest fund among the top 10 is the R31.4bn Ninety One Global Franchise feeder fund managed by Clyde Rossouw. It has returned 18.9% per annum over this period.

This portfolio has generated a positive double-digit return in nine of the past 10 years. The only blemish on that record was the -12.7% drop it experienced in 2016.

The best-performing South African fund over the past 10 years is the R23.7bn Fairtree Equity Prescient fund, managed by the Citywire A-rated duo of Stephen Brown and Cor Booysen, which has gained 17.7% per annum over this period.

Remarkably, this fund has been a top-quartile performer in its Morningstar category in nine of the last 10 calendar years. And despite the weakness in the South African market over this period, it has delivered positive double-digit growth in eight of those years.

Longer term
Extending the review period to 15 years, however, changes the picture quite materially.

While the GinsGlobal US Equity Index fund has once again been the top performer, only two other funds in the top 10 are global equity portfolios – the Old Mutual Global Equity fund and the Allan Gray-Orbis Global Equity feeder fund.

The top-performing South African portfolio over this period has been the Aylett Equity Prescient fund. The R4.3bn portfolio managed by Walter Aylett is up an annualised 13.9% over the past decade and a half.

The other notable top performers focused on local assets are the SIM Top Choice Equity fund managed by Citywire A-rated Cromwell Mashengete and Andrew Kingston, the Centaur BCI Flexible fund managed by Roger Williams, the BlueAlpha BCI All Seasons fund managed by Gary Quinn, and the 36One BCI Flexible Opportunity fund managed by Citywire + rated Cy Jacobs.

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