STEPHEN CRANSTON: There has been a surge into income funds as investors seek lower risk
High-equity unit trusts remain popular for their healthy returns, but low-equity investments look rather pedestrian over 20 years
It is amazing that as much as R52.8bn net was invested in SA unit trusts in the first quarter. Stronger equity markets certainly helped, but how does anybody begin to wade through the 1,599 funds available to the retail investor? Of course, there is a long tail of only marginally profitable funds (some perhaps not even that). If there is no single company that dominates in the way Apple, Google and Facebook dominate their chosen fields, it is an oligopoly. Allan Gray and Coronation are the largest by far, even though they are both underrepresented in the high-bulk but low-margin money market category. Stanlib is in third place, largely because of its number one position in the money market, followed by Investec, the “best of breed” Nedgroup Investments and only then Old Mutual — for decades the largest unit trust house — and Sanlam. Other large houses are Absa, Prudential and Prescient, the last of which includes both its own funds and the ones it hosts for houses such as Fairtree a...