Six specialist options for this year’s ISA

Usually, when we’re talking about a core, we’re discussing apples or a hard workout at the gym. But when it comes to our investments, the core is the base upon which our portfolio is built - those assets and investments that are considered fundamental to generating our long-term positive returns. They will tend to be steady eddies that won’t give us any nasty surprises.

There is also such a thing as a satellite investment. These, more niche products, are used to build on the core and strengthen returns. They allow investors the opportunity to take advantage of more exciting or risky opportunities, without putting their overall portfolio in too much jeopardy.

There is no hard and fast rule as to what this satellite part of a portfolio may hold, and very much will depend on the individual investor, their requirements and often their interests. They could be looking to add another source or income, or they could be investing in something that has simply caught their eye.

For those looking to add something a little extra to their ISA investment this year, here are six specialist funds to consider:

1. Jupiter Financial Opportunities

This is a concentrated portfolio of ideas from the global financial services sector and associated firms. It will include businesses such as stock exchanges and online payment companies, as well as insurers and banks. The manager prefers businesses with sustainable growth characteristics and identifies these with a thematic approach, which looks at the wider trends driving the economy, and the impact these have on the financial services sector.

2. Ninety One Global Gold

This is a concentrated fund investing in gold mining companies. The manager’s philosophy is that investing in gold equities is better than investing in gold itself. He believes that gold equities offer leverage to the gold price - so if you believe in gold, you are better off owning gold equities. In addition, unlike physical gold, many gold miners pay a dividend and these pay-outs have been rising in recent years.

3. Sanlam Artificial Intelligence

The manager of this fund uses a powerful AI system to analyse thousands of financial statements for keywords and phrases that indicate companies are incorporating AI into the future growth of their business model. This system also uses language translation to remove any country bias. It can invest in businesses of almost any size and in more than just technology stalwarts; around a third of the portfolio can be found in healthcare, industrials and communications services.

4. Polar Capital Global Insurance

It’s very easy to grow in insurance - you just charge less. But the team behind this fund avoids these sorts of businesses preferring dull, boring and experienced management of quality insurers that can produce sustainable underwriting profits. Polar Capital Global Insurance is very focused and typically invests in 30-35 companies. It rarely invests much in life assurers, instead preferring specialist non-life companies, and those in the casualty and risk sectors.

5. GAM Star Credit Opportunities

This is a high-income bond fund with a unique strategy: the managers invest in the ‘junior debt’ of investment grade companies. This allows the fund to generate a good income, whilst still keeping a high-quality portfolio. GAM Star Credit Opportunities is heavily invested in the debt of financial companies, as this is where the managers believe the best opportunities often lie. The funds’ higher yield reduces its interest rate sensitivity versus many of its peers, which can be particularly valuable.

6. BMO European Real Estate Securities

This fund provides access to a portfolio of real estate securities listed in the UK and Europe. The managers will analyse economic outlook data such as savings rates, any major macro themes such as unemployment numbers, and an industry’s financial conditions. Depending on whether they like or dislike a stock, they will then decide how much to invest and with how much conviction - or even short the stock, thus being able to profit should the share price fall.

Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. Darius’s views are his own and do not constitute financial advice.

Published on 22/03/2021