Even a change in market leadership away from growth and tech may not be enough to derail Baillie Gifford's growing dominance of the UK funds industry, analysts have predicted, backing the £262bn AUM firm's fund managers to build on a strong run of outperformance sustained even through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Baillie Gifford's funds are the best performers in four of the 20 Investment Association sectors in which it is represented in the 12 months to 31 August 2020, FE fundinfo data show.
Its Long Term Global Growth Investment, Positive Change and Global Stewardship funds are first, second and third in the IA Global sector in that timeframe. Over a five-year period, it is top of the performance charts for seven sectors.
In the investment trust space, it is top of seven of the ten sectors in which it is represented over one year, and tops six of the seven sectors over five years.
As a result of its success, investors have piled into the firm's offerings. Data from platform interactive investor shows its average client held 6.8% of their portfolio in Baillie Gifford funds at 31 July 2020, up from 1.4% at 31 December 2017.
In August, five of the ten most purchased funds and three of the ten most purchased trusts on its platform were Baillie Gifford vehicles.
"Whether investors should sell up and crystallise profits is wholly dependent on individual appetite to risk and investment time horizon," said Teodor Dilov, fund analyst at interactive investor.
"There is nothing to suggest the performance of Baillie Gifford funds will go off a cliff, but there are no certainties when it comes to investments."
Since the start of 2018, Morningstar estimates flows into Baillie Gifford's products have topped £10bn, with almost £2bn piled into their mandates in the first seven months of this year alone.
Morningstar analyst Fatima Khizou said flows into most of the group's funds had been "strong" in recent years.
"For example, the Baillie Gifford American fund, which focuses on identifying ‘exceptional growth' firms, received £390m in inflows since the start of 2020 through July," she said.
"Performance has also been solid across their equity fund range, particularly for strategies that are heavily exposed to a handful of giant technology names that have led the market in recent periods."
Baillie Gifford's director of retail marketing and distribution James Budden said ten years ago its open-ended funds business had been "tiny", with assets under management of less than £1bn.
"The partners felt we could improve on this," Budden told Investment Week. "That was one of the reasons I appeared and [led by] myself and [head of intermediary sales] Grant Walker set about redeveloping the retail business.
"It is now a very strong part of the business, it is still a growing area and one we are very much committed to," he said, adding the firm was hoping to develop "much better engagement with advisors", which he identified as "the one area where we have not been as focused in the past".
With such stellar performance, it is unsurprising that analysts rate the company, as well as numerous of its funds, highly. Square Mile Investment Consulting & Research, for example, has eight Baillie Gifford offerings on its Academy of Funds.
Morningstar, meanwhile, has positive ratings on five funds and five trusts; FundCalibre gives Elite ratings to eight.