2020 was a wild year for professional money managers. And professional services firm Mercer has released its latest scorecard for how they performed.

The Mercer survey tallies the annual performance of 139 investment funds across shares and fixed interest.

22 funds made double digit returns, but only seven made the Stockhead cut — a 2020 gain of at least 20 per cent:

Fund 2020 % return
Collins St Value Fund 43.6
Hyperion Australian Growth 33.7
Bennelong Core Equities 24.3
Katana Australian Equity Fund 24.1
ECP AM All Cap 24.0
First Sentier Aus Equities Large Cap - Growth 23.8
Forager Australian Value 22.9

In what turned out to be a wild year, year-end gains were dominated by high-growth tech sectors such as BNPL, as well as plenty of strong returns in the junior resources space.

But the big old mainstays of the Aussie markets — miners and banks — had the last laugh in Q4.

“In a reversal of the prior two quarters, Value outperformed Quality/Growth,” Mercer’s head of portfolio management Ronan McCabe said.

“Value-esque stocks such as Woodside, Rio Tinto, BHP, CBA, ANZ and NAB were the largest contributors to strong performance.”

As it turned out, it was the Collins Street Value Fund that came top of the Mercer pops with a gain of 43.6 per cent.

Although, good luck getting a piece of that action. The fund is open to sophisticated investors only who can pony up at least $250k.

McCabe noted that Value stocks have had a rough time of it over the past few years.

But “our perspective is that investors should seek to retain some Value exposure in their portfolios through the cycle. The recent quarter’s performance illustrates this nicely”, he said.

Meanwhile, there’s still plenty of activity at the small end of town, following a barnstorming 2020 where no less than 101 stocks returned a gain of at least 300 per cent.

Positive momentum has flowed into the new year, with another seven IPOs on the cards in the wake of the Q4 IPO frenzy.