What are the best ISA investments in January 2021? | moneyfacts.co.uk

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Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert
Published: 26/01/2021

The end of 2020 saw an optimism in the markets as more vaccines gained regulatory approvals. There was an expectation of reducing lockdowns and opportunities for travelling again. The start of 2021 has seen this optimism fall away as Coronavirus cases increased and lockdown became tougher. The FTSE 100 remains at levels the same or above those in November 2020, however it has has fallen since the beginning of 2021. Concerns about the UK economy are increasing with rising unemployment, the national debt reaching £34bn and the biggest fall in clothing sales for 23 years. The retail, hospitality and travel sectors have all suffered most of all with pharmaceuticals and technology associated with home working seeing increases or remaining steady.

We have summarised below the top five performing ISA investment funds for a £1,000 investment over the past 12 months and five years.

Top ISA unit trust funds

Rank

Fund

Ranking last month

Value of £1,000 lump sum over one year

Value of £1,000 lump sum over five years (rank)

Investment platform

1

Baillie Gifford American A Account

1

£2,196.24

£4,783.63

(1)

Interactive Investor

 

2

Baillie Gifford Global Discovery A Account

£1,754.41

£3,226.06

(5)

Interactive Investor

3

Guinness Sustainable Energy B Account

4

£1,674.24

£2,060.01

(54)

Interactive Investor

4

Baillie Gifford Pacific A Account

2

£1,590.39

£2,830.43

(10)

Interactive Investor

 

5

Bank of New York Mellon Oriental GBP Inc

5

£1,585.99

£2,433.23

(19)

Interactive Investor

Source: Lipper/Moneyfacts
Note: The table above is ordered by the best performance 1 January 2021 over the past 12 months. Funds may be available on other platforms not listed, through a stockbroking service or financial adviser.

This month four of the best performing investment ISAs over 12-months from our November review have remained in the top five. The LF Ruffer Gold Account has left this top five and is now the ninth best performing ISA investment fund. The top five has included at least one gold-based investment ISA since March last year when the pandemic started in the UK. LF Ruffer is now the last one to leave the top five.


Baillie Gifford is an investment management partnership and continues to dominate with three funds in the top five investment ISAs. The American A Account, the Global Discovery A Account and the Pacific A Account. The first two funds have investments in the US focusing on the technology sector. The Pacific fund focuses on equities in China and Asia.

The returns generated on a £1,000 investment for 12-months up to January 2021 were £2,196.24 for the Baillie Gifford American A Account, £1,754.41 for the The Baillie Gifford Global Discovery A Account and £1,590.39 for the Baillie Gifford Pacific A Account.

The Guinness Sustainable Energy B Account invests in publicly listed equities in the alternative energy industry sector. The return of this fund on £1,000 invested for 12-months up to January 2021 is £1,754.41.
The Bank of New York Mellon Oriental GBP Income ISA unit trust fund has nearly half of its portfolio invested in the technology hardware and computer software sectors. It has 20% of its investments in the USA and a further 20% in India. It generated £1,585.99 based on a £1,000 investment made 12-months ago.


The unit trust funds delivering the best returns on a £1,000 investment over five years were:

  1. Baillie Gifford American A Account
  2. LF Ruffer Gold Account
  3. AXA Framlington Global Technology
  4. L&G Global Tech Index
  5. Baillie Gifford Global Disc A Account

A investment platform, like interactive investor can be used to find out more about these funds and to make investments. An alternative is to use an independent financial adviser for advice about investments. 

Top ISA investment trust funds

Rank

Fund

Ranking last month

Value of £1,000 lump sum over one year

Value of £1,000 lump sum over five years (rank)

Investment platform

1

Pacific Horizon Investment Trust

1

£2,285.78

£4,366.81

(3)

Interactive Investor

2

Scottish Mortgage Investment

2

£2,104.89

£4,517.23

(2)

Interactive Investor

3

JP Morgan China

3

£1,955.57

£4,345.24

(4)

Interactive Investor

4

Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust

6

£1,877.22

£3,972.09

(5)

Interactive Investor

5

Allianz Technology Trust PLC

5

£1,803.28

£4,604.65

(1)

Interactive Investor

Source: Lipper/Moneyfacts
Note: The table above is ordered by the best performance 1 January 2021 over the past 12 months. Funds may be available on other platforms not listed, through a stockbroking service or financial adviser.

The top five investment ISA trust funds in January 2021 have seen four of the top five funds from November stay in the top five. Allianz Technology Trust PLC is a new entrant this month.
The best performing investment ISA trust fund over 12-months in January 2021 is Pacific Horizon Investment Trust. This fund has steadily moved its way up the chart from third in October and second in November. A £1,000 investment made 12-months into this fund would now be worth £2,285.78. This fund invests in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) and the Indian subcontinent.
The Scottish Mortgage Investment fund has moved up one place in January 2021 and is now the second-best performing ISA investment trust fund. It generated £2,104.89 over 12-months on a £1,000 investment.

Dropping from the best performing in November 2020 to third place is JP Morgan China. It generated £1,955.57 on a £1,000 investment over the past 12-months – also a reduction on the level of return compared to November. This fund invests in listed companies on the Hong Kong stock exchange and unlisted companies in China. It can also have up to 15% of its assets in UK-listed companies.
The Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust has improved its ranking compared to November and is now in fourth place generating £1,877.22 on a £1,000 investment over 12-months .
The Allianz Technology Trust PLC has entered the top five this month with a £1,000 investment over 12-months achieving £1,803.28. This fund invests in the technology sector, with companies such as Alphabet, Amazon and Tesla.

The investment trust funds delivering the best returns on a £1,000 investment over five years were:

  1. Allianz Technology Trust Plc
  2. Scottish Mortgage Investment
  3. Pacific Horizon Investment Trust
  4. JP Morgan China
  5. Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust

A investment platform, like interactive investor can be used to find out more about these funds and to make investments. An alternative is to use an independent financial adviser for advice about investments. 

Is 2021 a good time to invest in the stock market?

Interest rates on cash savings have hit rock bottom at the start of 2021. Savers looking to maximise their returns over the long term that are also happy to accept an element of risk to their funds could consider investing in the stock market or a stocks and shares ISA.

Read more in our guide to the differences between cash savings and stocks and shares ISAs.

Investing in shares over the long-term has previously achieved better returns than compared to cash savings, however there are no guarantees and savers should understand their money may be lost when investing in stocks and shares.


Those happy to invest in the stock market can do so through a provider offering a stocks and shares ISA, or by using an investment platform and then selecting their preferred funds .
Moneyfacts.co.uk has also written some useful investment guides including how to invest money, ethical investments, venture capital trusts and how to invest in property.


Those not sure if investing in the stock market is for them could also consider speaking with a financial adviser.

The value of investments can go up as well as down, and investors’ capital is at risk. Management fees have been included in this article, but other fees may apply. Investors should check all fees with their financial adviser, investment platform or provider before making any investment.

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