February’s top 10 performing sustainable investment funds

Written by Rebecca Jones on 5th Mar 2019

In our regular series produced in collaboration with 3d Investing, we take a regular monthly look at the top performing funds in the sustainable investment universe, tracking trends and trendsetters in one of the fastest growing areas of global finance today.

Our universe consists of funds rated three stars and above by 3d Investing, which has rigorously screened thousands of funds available to UK investors to come up with just 210 that meet this standard. We sort this list by the top performers of the month and then again by three years, giving a comprehensive overview.

 

It’s a global story as the woes of 2018 seem far behind our sustainable stars, with funds investing in companies across the globe coming out of the blocks in February and matching markets enjoying a seasonal surge.

Top of this group is Kames Global Sustainable Equity, which returned  an impressive 6.3 per cent over the shortest month of the year, pushing its one year return back into positive territory after a bruising 2018 that saw this young fund, launched just in 2016, shed more than 8 per cent.

Second among our global heroes is the Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth fund, which came in at 4.7 per cent in February. Established when the investment team were at Aviva way back in the early 2000’s, this is both one of the oldest and strongest funds in the sustainable universe, delivering nearly 60 per cent over three years – placing it tenth in a sector of 222 funds.

To find out what fund manager Simon Clements’ thinks is in store for global markets this year, check out the latest Smug Money Podcast

Taking bronze is Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity. Launched in 1991 the fund is a relative dinosaur in the sector, though its sustainable slant is a more recent development. Managed by Hamish Chamberlayne since 2013, the fund matched Liontrust’s return in February, while it’s three year turnout is just over 55 per cent – meaning it just misses out on a top ten spot this month.

Like January, our two top performers in February were, in-fact, investment trusts that channel money into property in the healthcare space: MedicX and Primary Healthcare – whose shares are enjoying a boost after the companies announced a merger last month. This tailwind is likely to be temporary, however.

Commenting on February’s front runners, John Fleetwood, managing director of 3d Investing says: “Given the short time frame, it’s not surprising that some of the top performers over a month are related to sector or company specific issues.

“The top two funds are beneficiaries of the perceived advantages of one taking over the other, however British Land and PRS have both struggled in recent months, so the one month performance is more of a partial bounce back. More notably, five of the top ten funds over one month are global sustainability/impact funds.”

Top ten performing 3d three star rated funds in February 2019

Fund Total % return 1m Rank in sector Total % return 1yr Rank in sector Total % return 3yr Rank in sector
1 Primary Health Trust 6.8 n/a 16.6 n/a 42.3 n/a
2 Medicx Trust 6.3 2 / 16 20.8 2 / 15 36.0 2 / 7
3 Kames Global Sustainable Equity 6.3 2 / 235 1.5 86 / 184 n/a n/a
4 British Land 5.4 n/a 0.4 n/a 4.5 n/a
5 The PRS REIT 4.8 1 / 13 5.3 3 / 13 n/a n/a
6 Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth 4.7 11 / 278 11.4 13 / 261 59.6 10 / 222
7 Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity 4.7 13 / 278 3.3 67 / 261 55.2 17 / 222
8 Pictet Robotics 4.6 33 / 92 1.6 52 / 78 83.8 27 / 62
9 Impax Environmental Markets 4.2 12 / 235 1.6 85 / 184 48.8 30 / 143
10 Montanaro Better World 4.1 13 / 235 n/a n/a n/a n/a

Performance data sourced from FE Analytics and is to 28 February 2019.

 

Eastern promise

Over the longer term two funds invested in emerging Asia made the top table: Alquity Indian Subcontinent and Pacific Assets Trust. The Alquity fund, which invests solely in India and its immediate surrounds, has featured in our top tables since November – which may be testament to the promise of this rising world power.

Pacific Assets, however, is a long-term out-performer. Established in 1985, the investment trust has returned 422 per cent over ten years to 28 February – double any of the other three year stars. This is not unusual in the investment trust space, though, where the average trust tends to outperform the average fund by a country mile over periods of more than five years.

The top performer since February 2016, however, was Pictet Robotics, which over three years has returned more than 83 per cent – a signal for the future, which is likely animatronic. Other specialists making the table include iShares S&P Global Timber & Forestry Index, returning nearly 68 per cent, while Bluefield Solar took sixth place with 59.7 per cent.

Top ten performing 3d three star rated funds three years to 28 February 2019

Fund Total % return 1m Rank in sector Total % return 1yr Rank in sector

Total % return 3yr

Rank in sector
1 Pictet Robotics 4.6 33 / 92 1.6 52 / 78

83.8

27 / 62
2 Impax Environmental Markets 3.7 2 / 3 10.1 1 / 3

78.7

1 / 3
3 Alquity Indian Subcontinent -0.4 8 / 46 -16.5 42 / 46

70.6

1 / 40
4 3i Infrastructure Trust 1.9 4 / 6 34.9 1 / 6

69.0

1 / 6
5 iShares S&P Global Timber & Forestry Index -4.6 169 / 172 -10.8 155 / 168

67.5

11 / 143
6 Bluefield Solar Income Trust 0.4 8 / 10 19.4 1 / 7

59.7

1 / 6
7 Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth 4.7 11 / 278 11.4 13 / 261

59.6

10 / 222
8 Schroder ISF Global Sustainable Growth 2.0 58 / 105 9.0 3 / 90

58.8

3 / 70
9 Pacific Assets Trust 3.7 3 / 15 12.1 1 / 15

57.0

10 / 15
10 Parvest Aqua Classic 3.1 19 / 105 2.5 43 / 90

56.2

5 / 70

Performance data sourced from FE Analytics and is to 28 February 2019.

 

For the full list of 3d 3star rated funds see the latest Good With Money and 3d Investing Good Investment Review – your guide to the brightest and best sustainable funds on the market

To invest in any of these funds you can speak to your financial adviser or invest through a dealing account, or stocks and shares ISA on a low cost online fund platform.

Risk warning: Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income derived from them may go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you originally invested.

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