Matthews China Small Companies, Morgan Stanley US Growth and LF Ruffer Gold were among some of the top-performing Investment Association funds during H1 2020, according to data from FE fundinfo, with respective gains of 62.5%, 62.3% and 53.5% despite choppy and extreme market conditions induced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the start of the year to the middle of March, the MSCI World index tumbled by more than 20% as the virus forced most countries into a sudden lockdown.
However, as central banks began to implement record-breaking stimulus in a bid to minimise economic damage and investors clambered towards quality growth investments, many markets made a swift U-turn and began to rally, with the S&P 500 - which has a 40% combined weighting in technology and healthcare stocks - climbing almost 25% in less than two months to break even, after reaching its 2020 low of -20% in March.
From the start of the year to time of writing (30 June), the MSCI World index has broadly flatlined, having returned 0.6%.
There has been significant dispersion between stockmarkets however, with the MSCI China and S&P 500 indices up 11.2% and 2.8% respectively, while the FTSE 100 index trails with a loss of 16.1%.
Therefore, it is perhaps no surprise that four of the top ten-performing funds in the IA universe this year are US-specific vehicles while a further three have a global equity mandate (the MSCI World has a 65.8% weighting to US equities).
The top ten list also includes two gold funds - Ruffer Gold and MFM Junior Gold, which are up 53.5% and 34.3% respectively - while the single best performer for H1 2020 is Matthews China Small Companies which has returned 62.5%.
The latter, which has been managed by Tiffany Hsiao since 2015, has almost double the allocation to healthcare and technology sectors than its MSCI China Small Cap benchmark at 22.1% and 19.5% respectively.
Its largest individual holdings are microchip designer Silergy Corp at 6.8% and management software firm Kingdee at 6%.
However, it is the only Chinese equity fund to have made it into the list of top ten, or even top 20 best performers, with the next best-performing China fund - Allianz China A-Shares - in 28th place with a total return of 23.5%.
Morgan Stanley US Growth came a close second place with gains of 62.3% to the end of June. The $3.9bn Luxembourg-domiciled SICAV, which is run by a group of six co-managers, is benchmarked against the Russell 1000 Growth index and has a 44.7% allocation to technology.
Its second-largest sector weighting is healthcare at 21%. Its second-largest holding is Amazon, which has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic globally and represents 5.25% of the portfolio.