The best and worst: Diverse investment is a perpetual winner - Large unit trusts

BIGGER is even better for Perpetual: the winner last year among medium-size management groups, the company has doubled the amount of funds under its management and has come out top once more in Money Management magazine's league table - this time among larger fund managers.

Perpetual, which won the Micropal award for best unit trust manager of 1992, also topped Money Management's individual tables for UK balanced unit trusts, international growth trusts and trusts investing in the Far East other than Japan - and had 'an excellent record' on UK growth, North America and Japan. 'Our aim is to beat the average, so we don't make aggressive decisions and put too much into one or two shares,' director Scott McGlashan said. Each fund is invested in as many as 120 stocks.

Schroder, runner-up, put in 'a particularly good performance' in UK growth, UK general and the Far East, and came top in international growth, North America and the fund of funds category.

The also-rans are talking about change. A spokesman for Midland Unit Trusts expressed disappointment but added: 'We are determined to do something about this, and the signs are already encouraging.' He said its product range had been 'rationalised and focused' by cutting back to 12 funds from 16. And James Capel has been brought in as fund manager since the take- over of Midland Bank by Hongkong & Shanghai Bank.

Scottish Amicable also believes it is poised for a far better performance.

'Any investment management is a matter of timing,' said a spokesman. 'Our funds are aggressively placed, in terms of stock selection, to benefit from recovery.'

----------------------------------------------------------------- BEST AND WORST: LARGE UNIT TRUST GROUPS ----------------------------------------------------------------- The best Performance % points * 1 Perpetual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73.6 2 Schroder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63.3 3 Norwich Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61.0 4 Equitable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57.1 5 TSB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57.0 The worst 26 Barclays Unicorn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44.7 27 NM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44.0 28 Sun Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43.7 29 Midland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42.0 30 Scottish Amicable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32.3 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Ranking over five years of unit trust groups managing at least pounds 500m. The points measure the performance for each trust managed for each individual year. Source: Money Management -----------------------------------------------------------------

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