Some of SA's top-performing unit trusts were invested in US tech companies. (Getty)
  • The top-performing retail unit trust available locally would have almost doubled your money in the past year.
  • Most of the outperforming funds were invested in global shares, particularly tech companies.  
  • The losing funds were exposed to property companies.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

You would have almost doubled your money had you invested in the best-performing unit trust available to retail investors in South Africa a year ago. 

Looking at the list of the top funds, compiled by the investment research firm Morningstar, most of them were invested in global shares, specifically technology companies.

The so-called ‘FAANG’ shares - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google - have exploded so far this year.  They were among the few companies that benefited from the pandemic as more people stayed at home, making for a bigger reliance on technology for work and entertainment.

South Africa’s top retail unit trust over the past year was the IP Global Momentum Equity Fund. Among its biggest shareholdings were Facebook, Shopify (a Canadian e-commerce platform for online stores) and Amazon.

The weaker rand against the dollar helped to boost the returns of these international funds for local investors.


Top-performing SA retail unit trusts over the past year 

IP Global Momentum Equity A 81.43%

Anchor BCI Global Equity FF A 75.22%

Naviga BCI Worldwide Flexible A 69.50%

Sygnia FAANG Plus Equity B 56.68%

Anchor BCI Global Technology A 48.85%

Sygnia 4th Industrial Revolution Gl Eq A 47.82%

Old Mutual Gold R 39.12%

Prescient China Balanced FF A3 33.79%

Stonehage Fleming SCI Glb Bst Ids EqFFA1 27.78%

Coronation Global Em Mkts Flex [ZAR] A 27.36%

Calculated for the period to 20 November 2020. Source: Morningstar

The losers were primarily unit trusts that were invested in property companies. These businesses - which were already taking strain before the coronavirus crisis - were among the worst affected by the pandemic.

SA's malls, owned by large listed property groups, ran empty as consumers stayed home. Tenants demanded payment holidays, and many will go bankrupt. The owners of offices - whose occupants were working from home for months - can also expect an exodus as companies cut down on space.


Worst-performing SA retail unit trusts for the past year

Coronation Property Equity A -49.82%

Select BCI Property A -48.59%

Ninety One Property Equity A -47.58%

Momentum SA Real Growth Property A -47.47%

SIM Property A -46.85%

Momentum Real Growth Property A -46.48%

Prudential Enh SA Prop Tracker A -46.34%

Catalyst SCI SA Property Equity A -46.28%

Prescient Property Equity A1 -46.18%

Sygnia Listed Property Index A -46.15%

Momentum Real Growth Property Index A -46.05%

Discovery Flexible Property -45.90%

Calculated for the period to 20 November 2020. Source: Morningstar


Looking at unit trust performances over just one year isn’t advisable – markets can be hugely volatile. Three to five years provide a better yardstick to measure investment performance.

Over the five-year period, the top funds were split almost evenly between global investments and resources funds, which benefited from the gold price's almighty rally to above $2,000/oz earlier this year.

Gold is a favoured safe-haven investment in turbulent times, and fell to below $1,800 this week, as more coronavirus vaccines emerged and investors became more optimistic about the outlook for the global economy.


Top-performing retail funds over the past five years (average return per year)

IP Global Momentum Equity A 26.63%

Coronation Resources P 26.41%

Ninety One Commodity R 24.49%

Old Mutual Gold R 23.26%

SIM Resources 20.34%

Nedgroup Inv Mining & Res R 20.09%

Anchor BCI Global Equity FF A 19.335

BlueAlpha BCI Global Equity A 14.15%

Momentum Resources A 14.13%

PSG Wealth Global Creator FF D 13.91%

Calculated for the period to 20 November 2020. Source: Morningstar


Worst-performing retail funds over the past five years (average return per year)

Nedgroup Inv Property A -14.60%

Ninety One Property Equity A -13.93%

ABSA Smart Alpha Property A -13.74%

SIM Property A -13.72%

Coronation Property Equity A -13.65%

Select BCI Property A -13.38%

Momentum Real Growth Property A -13.19%

Plexus Wealth BCI Property A -13.18%

Prudential Enh SA Prop Tracker A -13.07%

Discovery Flexible Property -12.99%

STANLIB Property Income B1 -12.95%

Calculated for the period to 20 November 2020. Source: Morningstar


Top-performing retail funds over the past three years (average return per year)

IP Global Momentum Equity A 34.16%

Old Mutual Gold R 28.71%

Anchor BCI Global Equity FF A 26.64%

Ninety One Commodity R 24.21%

Naviga BCI Worldwide Flexible A 22.90%

Sygnia 4th Industrial Revolution Gl Eq A 20.80%

SIM Resources 18.49%

Coronation Resources P 17.64%

Nedgroup Inv Mining & Res R 17.04%

PSG Wealth Global Creator FF D 15.42%

Calculated for the period to 20 November 2020. Source: Morningstar


Worst-performing funds over the past three years (average return per year)

Ninety One Property Equity A -25.16%

Nedgroup Inv Property A -25.13%

Ashburton Property A -24.85%

Momentum SA Real Growth Property A -24.74%

SIM Property A -24.67%

Prudential Enh SA Prop Tracker A -24.59%

STANLIB Property Income B1 -24.58%

Metope Property Prescient A -24.45%

Coronation Property Equity A -24.44%

Plexus Wealth BCI Property A -24.40%

Calculated for the period to 20 November 2020. Source: Morningstar

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