by Detlef Glow.
On April 13, 2021, Refinitiv Lipper unveiled the results of the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards for Europe in conjunction with our media partner Expert Investor Europe. Unlike previous years, physical in-person events won’t be held globally due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Since 2020 was a challenging year for the global fund industry, the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards will get a lot of attention from the asset management industry, as these awards showcase the ability of a fund to deliver high risk-adjusted returns.
Different methodologies lead to different results
Contrary to what a number of market observers would expect, the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards are not based on return numbers alone. The winners of a Refinitiv Lipper Fund Award aren’t determined by looking at the funds with the highest returns over the respective awards periods. In actuality, the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards are based on the Lipper Leader rating for Consistent Return. These ratings are calculated using a utility function based on the effective return over multiple non-overlapping periods—within the respective three-, five-, and 10-year horizons. The calculations over multiple periods ensure that all periods in which a fund underperforms the average of its peer group are identified. Then, Refinitiv Lipper uses a utility function based on behavioral finance theory to penalize periods of underperformance against the peer group average.
From an investor point of view, the calculation methodology ensures that the winners of the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards are funds that have provided relatively superior consistency and risk-adjusted returns compared to a group of similar funds. Therefore, funds that receive a Refinitiv Lipper Fund Award may be the best fit for investors who value a fund’s year-to-year consistency relative to other funds in a particular peer group.
In contrast to the single country awards, where all funds from the eligible asset classes with a sales registration in the respective country are taken into consideration, the fund universe for the European fund awards is composed of funds with UCITS status which are registered for sale in at least three out of 31 European countries composed of the 27 EU member state countries and the four EFTA countries.
A document outlining the full methodology for the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards can be found here.
The best mutual funds in Europe
There were 5,119 mutual funds eligible for a Refinitiv Lipper Fund Award in Europe. Out of the respective fund universe, the fund awards honor those funds which had the highest score in the Lipper Leader rating for Consistent Return over the three-, five-, and 10-year periods. Overall, there were 102 funds that won an award for the three-year period. Also, 98 funds were recognized with a Lipper Fund Award over the five-year period, and 73 funds won the prestigious trophy for the 10-year period. The complete lists of the winning funds can be found on our awards website.
MS INVF Europe Opportunity A EUR won the Lipper Fund Award for the Equity Europe category over the three-year period, while Comgest Growth Europe Opps EUR Acc won for the five- and 10-year periods.
Graph 1: Performance MS INVF Europe Opportunity A EUR (01.01.2018 – 31.12.2020)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
Equity Europe Income
BGF European Equity Income A2 EUR took the Lipper Fund Award for the Equity Europe Income category over the three- and 10-year periods, while BMO European Growth & Income A Inc EUR won for the five-year period.
Graph 2: Performance BGF European Equity Income A2 EUR (01.01.2018 – 31.12.2020)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
Equity Europe Small- and Mid-Cap
Berenberg European Micro Cap B was named the Lipper Fund Award winner for Equity Europe Small- and Mid-Cap over the three-year period, while DJE – Mittelstand & Innovation PA (EUR) was the leading fund over the five-year period and SQUAD CAPITAL – SQUAD GROWTH – A was tops over the 10-year period.
Graph 3: Performance Berenberg European Micro Cap B (01.01.2018 – 31.12.2020)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
Within the bond classifications, Threadneedle European Bond Ret Net Inc GBP won the Lipper Fund Award for the Bond Europe over the three-year period, while Franklin European Total Return A (acc) EUR won for the five- and 10-year periods.
Graph 4: Performance Threadneedle European Bond Ret Net Inc GBP (01.01.2018 – 31.12.2020)
Source: Refinitiv Lipper
The best asset management groups in Europe
The group awards are divided into those for large and small asset management groups based on a regional assets-under-management split. It is not enough for a fund management company to hold just one large fund. A large management group must have at least five equity, five bond, and three mixed-asset portfolios, while a small group must have at least three equity, three bond, and three mixed-asset portfolios. The complete lists of the winning asset management groups can be found on our awards website.
Within the bond segment, the best small asset manager was Mirova, which outperformed 40 competitors in this category. The best large bond fund manager was Russell Investments, which beat 69 competitors in its category.
Berenberg outperformed its 98 opponents and was named the best small asset manager in the equity segment. Columbia Threadneedle Investments won the trophy as the best large asset manager of equity funds, beating 81 competitors in terms of consistent outperformance.
There were 58 large asset managers and 39 small asset managers competing for the Lipper Fund Awards in the mixed-asset segment. While Alpina Funds won the trophy for the best small manager, the award for the best large manager went to Carmignac.
The winning groups for the overall awards were able to show an above-average risk-adjusted performance within their bond, equity, and mixed-asset products. In this category, there were 47 large groups and nine small groups competing for the prestigious trophy. NEF won the award for the best small fund management group, while Goldman Sachs was named the best large fund management group.
As one can see from the number of fund management groups in the single categories, the Lipper Fund Awards are exceedingly competitive and recognize the fund managers that are setting benchmarks within the industry. The Awards commemorate the expertise of the collective fund management industry and the individual funds’ ability to outperform the market.
The views expressed are the views of the author and not necessarily those of Refinitiv. This material is provided as market commentary and for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or advice. Refinitiv cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided in this publication or from any other source mentioned. Please consult with a qualified professional for financial advice.
The Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards, granted annually, highlight funds and fund companies that have excelled in delivering consistently strong risk-adjusted performance relative to their peers.
The Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards are based on the Lipper Leader for Consistent Return rating, which is a risk-adjusted performance measure calculated over 36, 60, and 120 months. The fund with the highest Lipper Leader for Consistent Return (Effective Return) value in each eligible classification wins the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Award. For more information, see lipperfundawards.com. Although Refinitiv Lipper makes reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained herein, the accuracy is not guaranteed by Refinitiv Lipper.
About Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards:
For more than 30 years and in over 17 countries worldwide, the highly-respected Refinitiv Lipper Awards have honored funds and fund management firms that have excelled in providing consistently strong risk-adjusted performance relative to their peers and focus the investment world on top funds. The merit of the winners is based on entirely objective, quantitative criteria. This, coupled with the unmatched depth of fund data, results in a unique level of prestige and ensures the award has lasting value. Renowned fund data and proprietary methodology is the foundation of this prestigious award qualification, recognizing excellence in fund management. Find out more at www.lipperfundawards.com.