Absolute return funds are a valuable tool for investors and a growing trend within the financial investment sector. These funds essentially aim to deliver a positive return regardless of whether the market in which they invest rises or falls.
In this guide, we are going to cover everything you need to know about absolute return funds. We list and review some of the popular Absolute return funds and some brokerages that allow users to invest in them.
Popular Absolute Return Funds UK List
Below we review in detail 10 Absolute funds that users can invest in the UK.
- The PIMCO Active Bond Exchange-Traded Fund
- Premier Multi-Asset Absolute Return Fund
- LF Ruffer Absolute Return Fund
- Janus Henderson UK Absolute Return Fund
- Jupiter European Opportunities Trust
- Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund
- M&G Absolute Return Bond Fund
- BlackRock UK Equity Absolute Return Fund
- FP Argonaut Absolute Return Fund
Aegon UK Equity Absolute Return Fund GBP
Popular Absolute Return Fund to Invest in Reviewed
Choosing popular absolute return fund might be a daunting task to deal with. To help you analyse these assets, we have reviewed 10 popular Absolute funds in the sections below.
1. The PIMCO Active Bond Exchange-Traded Fund
PIMCO is one of the largest and most well-known investment managers in the world with around $2.21 trillion in assets under management as of December 2020. Founded by the American superstar bond fund manager Bill Gross, Pimco has 93 funds in various regions including the United Kingdom including the Pimco Active Bond ETF that is one of the most liquid and stable funds offered by the global investment firm. This fund holds a huge number of 1149 assets and has an estimated yield to maturity rate of 2.48%.
In general, the fund seeks fixed income and long-term capital appreciation, regardless of the market conditions – making it among the most popular absolute return funds in the world. Crucially, since inception, the fund has outperformed the benchmark markets with a consistent and stable price movement. If you have any concerns about high volatility, then this fund has an annualized volatility of just 3.73%.
Furthermore, the fund has a net asset value of nearly $4.2 billion and an expense ratio of just 0.57%. Finally, it has a distribution yield of 2.71% and NAV total return (after fees) of 4.49% since its foundation.
Your capital is at risk
2. Premier Multi-Asset Absolute Return fund
With 92 positive months over the last 10 years, this is one popular multi-asset absolute return funds in the UK and globally. The fund invests in a range of assets including bonds, company shares, property funds, and alternative assets (over 60% of its portfolio is invested in alternative securities). Premier was the a popular alternative investment fund in terms of performance over the last year with a return of 13.28%, despite the coronavirus pandemic crisis. And, from the start of the year, the fund has a return of nearly 2%.
Premier Milton has recently reduced the asset management fees on eight of the funds in its multi-asset arm including the Multi-Asset Absolute Return Fund. As such, the new ongoing cost to the fund (OCF) has been reduced to 0.99% from 1.21%.
3. LF Ruffer Absolute Return Fund
If you are looking for low volatility and consistent returns, then you might want to analyse the LF Ruffer Absolute Return Fund. Established in 2006, the fund has a simple goal – to generate positive returns regardless of how the markets perform. More importantly, this fund is more diversified than its competitors – it invests in Non-UK index-linked, illiquid strategies and options, cash, long-dated index-linked gilts, gold and gold equities, index-linked gilts, etc.
In terms of shares, the 10 largest equity holdings of the fund include iShares Physical Gold, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, BP Group, NatWest Group, Countryside Properties, Centene, Yara International, Cigna, and Royal Dutch Shell. The Fund’s net assets under management totaled approximately £4.5 billion, and it offers a dividend yield of 0.76% as of March 2020. The expense ratio – which shows the amount that an investment company charges investors to manage the fund – stands at 1.23%.
In terms of market performance, the fund has generated 4.5% since the start of the year. The 1-Year return stands at 19.7% and more than 58% over the past 10 years.
4. Janus Henderson UK Absolute Return Fund
Another defensive absolute return fund that aims to beat inflation and generate a steady yearly return is the Janus Henderson fund. In the past four years, this fund has generated an annual return of 3.4%, -2.3%, 4.8%, and 2.5%. And, so far in 2021, the fund’s return stands at 1.91%.
Ultimately, this fund has one target – To outperform the Bank of England base rate (after the deduction of charges) over a period of 3 years. It is, therefore, invests in shares and derivatives to take both long and short positions in companies in the UK, meaning it aims to provide positive return regardless of the future direction of the market. The overall portfolio composition includes 68.7% in cash and 30 .77% in stocks, meaning the exposure to the stock is relatively low when compared to other absolute return funds.
5. Jupiter European Opportunities Trust
Unlike all the other funds on our list, the Jupiter European Opportunities Trust is not a pure absolute return fund. This fund basically invests in securities of European companies, with a focus on companies that have a sustainable competitive advantage.
As such, the fund is exposed to the risk of a stock market crash or a correction in stock prices, so it’s a fairly high risk investment. Nonetheless, the fund has a certain nature that is not similar to other ETFs that take positions against the entire market or a specific sector.
Since 2001, the fund is listed and trades on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) under the ticker symbol JEO.L. Its largest holdings include SAP, Uniliver, Nordo Nordisk, Procus, Worldline SA, ASML, Essity, Elec De Portugal, Linde, and Deutsche Borse. The fund’s market cap stands at nearly $1 billion with a 1-year return of slightly above 10%.
6. Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund
Launched in 2008, the Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies fund is another popular asset for investors that are looking for a low-risk investment that aims to provide positive investment returns in all market conditions. The fund is primarily composed of government bonds – this includes 21.56% in Future On Five Year Treasury Note, 14.63% in 10 Year Australian Treasury Bond Future Dec 20, 4.44% in iShares China Cny Bond Etf Usd Dis, 4.43% in Topix Core30 Future Dec 20, and 3.54% in Aberdeen Standard Liqdty (Lux) Euro Z3.
Crucially, the GARS differs from most other absolute return funds by using a broader range of investment strategies. Thus, this fund forms as a multi-asset fund, meaning it invests in a mix of different assets. Thus, the Standard Life Global Absolute Return Strategies fund has the potential to make money in falling markets as well as in rising or neutral markets.
Looking at the fund’s specifics – The current fund size stands at €724.7 million with a YTD return of 0.3% as of February 2021. However, the fund has generated a return of 4.1% over the period of 1 year.
7. M&G Absolute Return Bond Fund
With about $1.6 billion in assets under management, the M&G Absolute Return Bond Fund is one of the popular bond funds for those looking for a safe absolute return fund. This fund simply aims to achieve a total return of at least 2.5% a year, before any management charges are taken, and, in any market conditions over any three-year period.
As implied by the name, this is a popular fixed income fund and focuses on fixed income assets such as the United States, Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan, All in all, the fund is composed of bonds (47%), and cash assets (38%).
Further, the expense ratio stands at just 0.68% with an annual dividend yield of 1.87%. In terms of market performance, the fund has returned an annualized 6.35% between March 2019 to February 2020, and 1.8% between February 2020 to February 2021.
8. BlackRock UK Equity Absolute Return Fund
The BlackRock UK equity absolute return fund aims to deliver positive absolute returns through a combination of capital appreciation and fixed income on investors’ investment regardless of market conditions. The BlackRock equity absolute return fund is an ideal option for those who are looking to increase their risk by getting exposure to equity securities and the equity market. The fund invests at least 70% in shares of companies domiciled in or have their primary listing in the United Kingdom.
All in all, the fund holds stocks of 69 companies including RELX plc, Rio Tinto plc, Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, Tesco, and more. In terms of market performance, the BlackRock UK equity absolute return fund is up 1.02% since the beginning of the year after having a negative return in 2020. In 2019, however, the fund has generated a return of nearly 10%.
9. FP Argonaut Absolute Return Fund
While most absolute return funds focus on a combination of shares appreciation and fixed income assets, the FP Argonaut Absolute Return Fund aims to deliver positive returns by combining long and short market stock positions. The fund is not as dominant as other absolute return funds in our list and finding data and information might be a challenge.
Since its launch, the fund has generated over 118%. In 2020 only, the annual return stands at 16.6% and 12.8% in the year before. This year, however, the fund, so far, has a negative return of -1.4%.
This absolute return fund also has exposure in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Mexico. The FP Argonaut fund has three different classifications – A, R, and I – The fund’s management teams charges an annual ongoing fee of 1.65%, 0.9%, and 0.9% respectively.
10. Aegon UK Equity Absolute Return Fund GBP
Like most absolute return funds in our list, the Aegon UK Equity Absolute Return Fund GBP has a market-neutral approach, which makes it a potential investment solution for long term investing that provides a steady income without getting exposed to the risk of a stock market crash. With that in mind, the fund is more aggressive and heavily invested in leveraged and risky assets like the FTSE 100 Index (New Style) Future June 15, Ftse 250 CFDs, Gs Ka Energy Custom Gskaoeap CFD, GlaxoSmithKline PLC CFD, Unilever PLC CFD, etc.
Nonetheless, the fund’s return steadily outperforms its benchmark, the Sterling OverNight Index Average (SONIA). Since its inception in 2010, the Aegon UK Equity Absolute Return Fund has generated a return of 26.12%, and, in the last two years, and overall return of 12.49%.
What are Absolute Return Funds?
Absolute return funds have been in existence for decades though this type of funds has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. As a matter of fact, the first-ever absolute return fund was created in 1949 by Alfred Winslow Jones, who is known as “the father of the hedge fund industry.” In simple terms, an absolute return fund, as the name implies, is a form of fund that aims to generate positive returns regardless of the markets’ direction in which the fund is invested in.
But unlike traditional funds that purchase shares in companies they predict will rise in value, absolute return funds seek to buy or short sell assets without taking a side or direction in the market. In that aspect, the condition of the market – falling, rising, or neutral, is irrelevant to the success of the fund.
Popular Absolute Return Funds Brokers
If you are looking to purchase Absolute funds, you should do so using a reputable stock broker that can cater to all your investing needs. In the sections below, we have reviewed two brokers that provide users with the chance to purchase Absolute funds in the UK.
eToro is known for being the largest social trading platform with plenty of unique tools and features. This broker has more than 26 million members around the world. Crucially, eToro is a CFD platform, and thus it is more suited for short-term traders. With that said, the platform offers a huge range of the populart ETFs and investment trusts with zero commission pricing structure including some of the most popular absolute return funds. As such, it is an ideal platform for buying ETFs and investment funds.
When compared to other online investment platforms, eToro does not make investors pay trading fees but more importantly, there are no account management fees and no rollover fees. This means you can hold the positions for a long period of time without paying any fees to the brokerage firm. As for absolute return funds available on eToro’s platform, you can find many investment trusts such as the PIMCO Active Bond Exchange-Traded Fund and Jupiter European Opportunities Trust.
Another investment tool that is available on eToro’s platform is the built-in managed CopyPortfolios. While these are not classified as absolute return funds, the eToro’s CopyPortfolios are an effective way to get exposure to niche asset classes like gaming, cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies, autonomous cars, renewable energy, and more. Further, some portfolios (like the Dividend Growth CryptoPortfolio) work on the same principle as absolute return funds.
Lastly, eToro is not a traditional brokerage firm – It is the largest social trading network with approximately 26 million members that have the ability to connect with each other, share trading ideas, and copy trades of other investors. Using eToro’s popular feature, the CopyTrade, investors can view the trading activity of other users and automatically mimic their trades.
eToro allows investors in the UK to open an account with a minimum of £8. However, if you want to test the platform before you risk your money, you can sign up for a demo account. In terms of the safety of your funds, investors at eToro are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to the first £85,000. eToro is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
|Stock Broker||Minimum Deposit||Fractional Shares?||Pricing System||Cost of Buying Stocks & ETFs||Fees & Charges|
|eToro||$10||Yes – $10 minimum||0% commission on ALL real stocks, spreads for CFDs||Market spread is not included when buying real stocks||No Deposit fees, $5 withdrawal fee, $10 inactivity fee, no account management fees.|
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2. Fineco Bank
Another option to look into is Fineco Bank, an FCA-regulated brokerage firm that supports thousands of assets to trade on. Unlike eToro, Fineco Bank offers investors to purchase assets in the form of CFDs or directly from the exchange, which means you’ll have a wider variety of investment funds.
The broker charges an annual platform fee of 0.25% on the first £250K, 0.15% for any value between £250,000 and £1m, and 0.05% for a portfolio value between £1m and £2m. If you have a portfolio with a value of above 2m, Fineco Bank does not charge any annual fees. Additionally, Fineco Bank offers a wide range of investment trusts from top fund managers such as Invesco, Jupiter, M&G Investments, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Igebris Investment, and more.
Besides the platform annual fee, however, the broker does not charge any additional fees – no hidden fees, spread, exit costs, or transfer fees and no dealing charge for buying or selling funds. To start investing in absolute return funds at Fineco Bank’s platform you need to invest a minimum of just £100.
Your money is at risk.
How to Invest in Absolute Return Funds
If you have come to the conclusion that investing in an absolute return fund is the right investment strategy for you, we are now going to show how to craft your investment plan with a reputable stock broker of your choice.
Step 1: Open Your Trading Account
Head over to the homepage of your chosen broker and begin the account set-up process. You will be required to fill in your personal details – including your full name, email address and mobile number. Create a username and password for the platform to continue.
Step 2: Complete the Verification Process
Most reputable brokers in the UK are regulated by the FCA – which is why users may be required to verify their accounts. To do this, simply upload proof of ID (a copy of your driver’s license or passport) and proof of address (a copy of a bank statement or utility bill). Once these documents have been uploaded, your broker should verify them in a couple of minutes.
Step 3: Deposit funds
The next step is to deposit funds into your trading account. Most brokers may support 1 or more of the following payment methods:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Bank transfer
Choose your preferred payment option and deposit the funds into your account.
Step 4: Invest in Absolute Return Funds
Once your account has been funded, proceed to search for any Absolute return funds you wish to purchase on your platform’s search bar. Fill in the amount you want to credit into the trade, and confirm your transaction.
If you have ever experience the tension of investing in financial assets, then you probably know how stressful it might be, particularly when you are betting on a direction of a certain market. For that reason, an absolute return fund could be a potential solution if you have no interest to be heavily involved in the stock market and at the same time, receive a positive return.
However, you should always research and analyse the possible asset classes you choose to invest in, prior to opening a trade.