Fundsmith Equity, run by star manager Terry Smith, is the UK’s most-bought investment fund, with almost £24billion invested.
The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which manages £11billion, also sells like hot cakes.
These two funds hold a spread of global companies, and Britons can invest in them free of tax, inside their £20,000 Stocks and Shares Isa allowance.
They made fortunes for pension and Isa investors in the bull market after the financial crisis, but came unstuck last year as rocketing inflation and the war in Ukraine rattled investors.
Both funds invested heavily in the US and suffered when tech stocks sold off last year, with New York’s Nasdaq falling by a third last year.
Fundsmith Equity plunged 14.3 percent while Scottish Mortgage did even worse, falling more than 40 percent.
Fundsmith is the less risky fund of the two and manager Terry Smith is now busily recouping last year’s losses, while Scottish Mortgage continues to fall.
That’s left its new lead manager Tom Slater with a lot of explaining to do.
Both funds still outsell their rivals as investors seek a repeat of stellar past performance, but Fundsmith has the brighter prospects today.
Terry Smith’s fund is on the up again, rising 8.1 percent over the past six months. Over a year, it’s up 13.9 percent, pretty much wiping out its losses.
In January, Smith’s annual shareholder letter reminded loyal investors that investing will always be risky. “Whilst a period of underperformance against the index is never welcome it is nonetheless inevitable”.
He also pointed out “that no investment strategy will outperform in every reporting period and every type of market condition”.
Smith’s underperformance was down to the end of the “easy money” era, as central bankers stopped printing money and started hiking interest rates to defeat inflation.
Tech stocks that had benefited were the ones in his portfolio to suffer, notably Facebook-owner Meta, PayPal, Microsoft and Amazon.
Happily for investors, Smith also invests in solid companies outside the risky tech sector, including cigarette maker Philip Morris, luxury goods maker LVMH, and beauty specialists L’Oréal and Estée Lauder.
By contrast, Scottish Mortgage has invested heavily in riskier in tech and growth companies. Rather than recovering over the past six months, it is still falling, down 12.23 percent.
Measured over one year, it is still down 18.60 percent.
Today’s manager, Tom Slater, has admitted that the past 12 months have been “painful” for shareholders, but he’s sticking to his guns.
The fund will continue to invest in late-stage companies, many of the privately owned, such as Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, Space X, and European battery manufacturer Northvolt.
Scottish Mortgage may also recover at some point but investors must understand that this fund is likely to be volatile.
Anyone who thought its dazzling performance would simply continue have had a shock.
The good news is that over the long run, investors in both Fundsmith Equity and Scottish Mortgage are still comfortably ahead.
Since launching November 2010, Fundsmith has delivered a market-beating total return of 538 percent.
Over the same period, the Scottish Mortgage share price has grown 512 percent, with dividends on top.
Fundsmith is already on the comeback trail. Scottish Mortgage investors are having to be more patient.
Both have taught investors a valuable lesson. Nothing rises forever.