Woodford's Equity Income still featured in top 10 most-purchased active funds last month, according to AJ Bell

Lucy White
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Fundsmith Equity was crowned most popular (Source: Getty)

Neil Woodford's stalwart Equity Income investment fund still featured in the top ten most-purchased active funds last month, according to broker AJ Bell, despite disappointing performance.

This comes after it was shunted out of the Investment Association's UK Equity Income sector in March, because it has yielded less by way of return than the UK all-share stock market index on average over the last three years.

Green: FTSE All Share total return

Red: UK equity income retail total return

Blue: Woodford Equity Income (Acc)

Source: FE Analytics

Yet Woodford's reputation and marketing still seem to be winning investors over, which AJ Bell attributed to uncertainty in the UK causing people to stick with names they know.

"Investors are clearly wary of the UK market at the moment – perhaps unsurprising given the recent weaker GDP data, with many instead opting for overseas exposure in their portfolios," said AJ Bell's head of active portfolios Ryan Hughes.

"Where investors are investing in the UK, it is at the very small cap end of the market via the Marlborough UK Micro Cap Growth fund or via very well-known and respected fund managers in Nick Train and Neil Woodford – who remains in the top ten despite some well publicised problems at some of the firms in his portfolios."

Read more: Woodford's stalwart fund suffers after a nightmare fortnight

The most-bought active funds in April 2018

Fundsmith Equity
Lindsell Train Global Equity
Legg Mason Japan Equity
Polar Capital Global Technology
Lindsell Train UK Equity
Marlborough UK Micro Cap Growth
Standard Life Global Smaller Companies
Woodford Equity Income
Jupiter India
Baillie Gifford Japanese

While investors became more nervous about the UK, AJ Bell said there was a clear shift towards global equities.

"The two most popular funds both focus on high quality global businesses and have a very long term investment perspective," said Hughes.

"The Polar Capital Global Technology fund also remains very popular despite the concerns around Facebook and Tesla, while Japan is represented twice with recent problems surrounding Prime Minister Abe seemingly un-affecting sentiment so far."

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