rplan has a number of tools which aim to help you select the right investment fund. Selecting a fund just based on performance alone may be flawed, particularly if you focus on a one year period or less.

We show the fund in the following format with 5 core pieces of information:

1Costs are charged to funds and, accordingly, reflect in fund performance. If charges are high, the fund manager will have to take greater risk to achieve the same returns as an equivalent, cheaper alternative. Our Fund Selector Tool enables you to compare fund costs through a measure called the Ongoing Charge (or the Total Expense Ratio where the Ongoing Charge is not available - both figures measure similar things). It contains both the Annual Management Charges and the Other Expenses. Here’s an example:


This fund has no initial charge

Each year 1.68% will be deducted from your investment

This fund has a performance fee that will be deducted from the gains if the fund does well. Most funds don’t have a performance fee, so it’s worth looking out for.

You should remember that cost is only one factor to consider. Many well managed, good performing funds come with a higher than average Ongoing Charge. Read more

2Risk. 1 is low volatility, 7 is high. It’s possible for a fund to produce better performance than competitor funds by taking higher risk. This may mean that such good performance is unsustainable. Generally speaking, you should be looking for investments that produce the best possible returns for the lowest possible level of risk.

In this example, the Schroder UK Alpha Plus fund has given 54% returns with a volatility level of 7, whereas the the Liontrust Special Situations has given 125% performance with a volatility of 6. The Liontrust Special Situations fund has therefore given higher returns with a lower level of risk.

The number shown is actually the SRRI of the fund. Read more

3 Performance (aka returns or gains) of the fund over a given period, for example by default the 5 last years is shown.

Absolute performance: how much has a fund increased or decreased in value on percentage terms over a defined period.

Relative performance: how has it compared with a relevant index, such as FTSE All Share Index in the case of a UK equity fund, or competitor funds.

4 Rated funds. Experienced investors often don’t just look as quantitative factors such as cost, risk or performance when assessing funds; they may also look at qualitative factors (which aren’t measureable), including:

  • Continuity of fund management - does investment performance rely on a single ‘star’ fund manager, or has the fund seen different management teams over the years?
  • Philosophy and process - is there a structured approach to fund management, or is it reliant entirely or mainly on the skill of the fund manager, which may produce more erratic returns?

Going to this level of detail is beyond the capacity of most investors (as it would involve interviewing the fund managers, assessing their investment processes, etc.). These considerations are important though, so we appointed Rayner Spencer Mills Research to provide a professional fund selection service, based on both qualitative and quantitative factors. You can find RSM rated funds through our Fund Selector looking out for the following symbol.

A typical Rayner Spencer Mills Research opinion of a rated fund.

5 Asset grouping. This is how the fund has been invested and uses categories grouped together from Morningstar. Read more