2013 has been the year of smaller companies

Firms which avoided global woes provided the best returns

Investors who backed smaller firms this year have been proved astute for the second year running. Four of the five strongest investment fund sectors had a small cap focus.

The Japanese Smaller Companies sector was the most profitable, returning 36 per cent over the year. Japan was boosted by Abenomics, the term coined to describe the policies being pushed through by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It consists of “three arrows” – named after the Japanese legend that individual arrows can break, but three held together are very strong. The policies he’s backing are bold monetary relaxation, flexible fiscal stimulus, and reviving the private sector.

But there is a wider reason driving smaller company funds to outperform those backing large firms, believes Tom Purdie from FundExpert.co.uk.

“There is a vast selection of stocks for fund managers to choose from,” he said. “This means a large range of possibilities, and significant opportunities to build a highly diversified portfolio. Larger, often global, businesses are perpetually in thrall to the latest central bank action.”

He also pointed out that unlike larger companies, smaller companies are not overwhelmed by broader macro trends. Being in niche markets allows them to maintain good performance regardless of what is happening in the wider economy.

On the other side of the coin, the worst-performing sector of the year was Global Emerging Markets, mainly on the back of taper fears in the US, which came to fruition in the middle of last week.

“The witching hour was 22 May, when Ben Bernanke mooted the gradual withdrawal of money printing,” recalled Mr Purdie. “Before that date the FTSE Emerging index was already falling. But from 22 May the slide accelerated.”

However, he said that there are still opportunities in emerging markets over the long term. “Emerging markets continue to grow 4 per cent faster than developed markets, and many have much more youthful demographics,” he said. That’s crucial as young populations drive growth.

But he warned that investors should expect more turbulence in emerging market equities in 2014 especially as the market focuses on the arrival of US tapering.

“For those wanting to exploit the long-term opportunity of emerging markets, drip-feeding will deal with the problem of market turbulence, allowing you to limit short-term stress while beingpositioned for long-term potential.”

The best-performing individual fund of the year was AXA Framlington Biotech. “It’s interesting to see a tech-focused fund in the top 10 in a year which saw the Twitter IPO and Bitcoin fluctuating valuations hit the headlines,” Mr Purdie said.

Meanwhile, 2013 proved to be another sorry year for gold investors. Gold funds propped up the performance tables, carrying on their poor showing from 2012. However, 2013 was more severe for gold. The worst losses of 2012 were around 30 per cent. In 2013 the worst gold fund slumped more than 60 per cent.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Sport
Torquay United mascot Gilbert the Gull
football
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

    £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

    Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

    Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

    £50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker