Best-performing fund of last 10 years is BlackRock gold


By Emma Wall
The Telegraph, London
Friday, December 4, 2009

A gold fund is the best performing investment fund of the past decade.

BlackRock Gold & General has returned 732 percent as the gold price has increased from just $220 an ounce in 1999 to a new record high of $1,225 an ounce this week.

In 1999 the fund was worth L70 million; now it is worth more than L2 billion. Although performance would have played a part in its growth, BlackRock says new money has played a huge role too -- it has regularly been a top seller in the second half of the decade.

BlackRock's Tony Stenning said: "At the start of the decade people had lost faith in real assets and the fool's gold rush was for paper assets on ridiculously high earnings. We decided not to promote the fund too heavily. While we have always believed gold should be a small part of a diversified portfolio, we did not want to see widows and orphans put their life savings into it. Gold can be volatile and we have had one hell of a roller-coaster at times."

Morningstar, which carried out the research, said it was not surprising that specialist funds featured at the top of the tables, rather than the mainstream UK funds, which are absent from the top 10. There is only one UK fund among the elite bunch and that comes from a boutique investment house, rather than one of the big players such as Fidelity or Jupiter. The fund is Marlborough Special Situations, managed by Giles Hargreave. He describes it as "relatively risk-averse" because it limits itself to a 2 percent holding in any single company.

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