Finding funds is also known as 'screening' - you 'screen' out the funds based on a set of criteria such as the sector the fund is in, past performance, manager performance, initial charges, the minimum allowed investment and so on. In this way you can 'weed out' the funds you're not interested in from those that you are.
There are a number of sites that allow you to screen funds - some of the better sites around at the moment in my opinion for screening are:
Each of the above sites have slightly different ways of screening funds, I'll try and give a step by step example of how to screen out funds from a single sector on Trustnet and look at how to sort the funds in a sector based on their past performance over various time periods.
Important: the usual disclaimer applies, past performance is no indication of future returns. This kind of technique is only a very very basic first step I find useful for getting an overview of the different funds within a sector and how they've performed compared to each other over different time periods.
Usually I use it as a quick overview, trying to find the funds that have consistently outperformed over a number of different time periods. Importantly though I always go on to focus in on individual funds, reading the literature for the funds, manager history, portfolio breakdowns etc etc (each of those needs a dedicated guide as well!) before making any decision on whether to invest or not.
Trustnet - screening funds by sector, sorting by performance over different time periods:
To start with, browse to:
Trustnet - Unit Trusts and OEICs Sector performance
This page lists a number of different IMA sectors from where you can focus in on any that you're particularly interested in - for example if you're interested in Cautious Managed funds, you'd click on the Cautious Managed
link from where you can then view all the funds in the Cautious Managed IMA sector.
Before doing that though, there's a useful way to see which sectors have performed best over each of the various time periods.
To sort all sectors over a 1 year period from best performing sector to worst:
- Scroll down to the part of the page that says 'IMA sectors / Performance'.
- Click on the link that says 1y (<- click and scroll down to see the sorted list!).
The sectors will now be sorted in order of which has performed best over 1 year. You can sort by 1/3/6 months or 1/3/5 years. This can be useful for getting a rough overview of which sectors have done best over various time periods.
Sorting a sector by performance over various time periods
Now move on to look at a specific sector. Click on a sector you're interested in looking at funds for - ie:
This will take you to a page with a lot of useful info on the Active Managed sector.
On that page, click on the link that says:
View all constituents
This will take you to a page that lists all funds within the Active Managed sector.
From that page you can then go on to sort the funds based on their performance over various time periods - like above for sorting the 'sectors' by performance.
For example to sort the list of funds from best performing to worst performing over 1 year, click on the 1y
I find it best to try sorting the funds over different time periods and looking to see which are consistently at the top of the performance table over all time periods (1/3/5 year).
Note: you can also add extra columns to the table to allow you to sort by 1/3/6 months - click on the button that says 'Customise this table' and choose which columns you want available to sort by.
Looking at individual funds on Trustnet
Finally, Trustnet has a lot of good information about how each fund has performed over 1 and 3 years. This information is packed concisely into the top right hand corner of each fund's page on Trustnet and 'colour coded' to allow you to see at a glance how a fund has performed compared to it's peers within the sector over each time period (from blue for best or 'top quartile' (top 25% of all funds in the sector) down to red for worst or 'bottom quartile' (bottom 25% of all funds in the sector).
I find this very useful for getting a quick idea at a glance how a fund has done over 1/3 years and whether it's worth having a closer look at the fund's credentials.
All in all a lot of blurb for something that takes about 10 seconds to actually do!
The other sites listed above all have similar functionality - especially Morningstar's Fund Screener
(tip - select 'UK Domiciled Funds' from the 'Universe' dropdown to only show UK funds in the screen results).