THREE TOP-RATED US EQUITY FUNDS

NEPTUNE US OPPORTUNITIES FUND
Launched on 31 December 2002, Neptune’s US Opportunities fund has been managed by Felix Wintle since August 2005.

Although it has underperformed the S&P 500 over the past year due to manager caution – 14.99 per cent compared to 25.96 per cent for the wider market – it has enjoyed robust outperformance since inception. Since launch it is up 95.62 per cent compared to the benchmark’s 46.35 per cent. The OEIC’s fund size is currently £594.2m.

For institutional investors, the minimum investment is £250,000 and the annual charge is 1.1 per cent. Wintle employs a top-down stock selection approach with strong sector and sub-sector views. A fifth of the fund is invested in IT and 18.9 per cent is in financial stocks. The fund is normally invested in between 30 and 50 stocks.

BAILLIE GIFFORD AMERICAN
Managed by Mick Brewis since its launch in July 1997, the Baillie Gifford American OEIC is notable for being one of the few funds that has outperformed the S&P 500 over a 10-year timeframe. In terms of more recent performance, the American fund has beaten the index over the past year, three years and five years. Morningstar rates the fund as superior and commends Brewis for looking for stocks that offer conservative long-term earnings growth prospects but that trade at attractive valuations. Currently it is overweight technology stocks and underweight financials. The fund had £118.54m of assets under management as of the end of June. For institutional investors, who buy B shares, the minimum investment is £250,000 and with an initial charge of 1 per cent and an annual fee of 0.65 per cent.

NEWTON AMERICAN
Although it was launched in October 1986, this fund has been managed by Simon Laing since 2000. Laing took over sole charge of the fund in October 2002 and applies a bottom-up approach. The fund typically invests in around 40-60 stocks and is currently overweight healthcare, basic materials, industrials and consumer services. The fund is underweight financials, oils and gas and technology. Over the past year it has underperformed the benchmark, gaining 37.9 per cent compared to the FTSE World North America Index’s 43.2 per cent. But over the three and five-year timeframe it has outperformed the benchmark. It has £56.19m in assets under management and has a total expense ratio of 1.68 per cent, according to Morningstar, which rates the fund as standard. The minimum investment for institutional clients is £500,000.