Only a fraction of funds make investors millionaires, according to research by AJ Bell – but weighting in favor of investment trusts could help boost your odds.
Of the 472 funds and trusts whose performance dates back to 1999, when Isas was launched, only 50 would have made you a millionaire by investing your entire allocation each year.
Investment trusts represent 35 of the 50, the rest being open-end funds, and all are actively managed.
Secrets of a Millionaire Isa: Choose Investment Trusts Over Trackers to Build Your Savings Pool
Private equity trusts top the list, with HgCapital Trust and 3i offering total Isa values of £1.8m and £1.5m respectively.
Despite performing poorly in recent months, Scottish Mortgage remains in the top 10 funds with a value of £1.5m if you invest your full allocation each year.
By comparison, saving a full Isa allowance every year since 1999 in an average global equity fund would have brought in £684,891.
“Trusts as a whole tend to be more equity-focused than funds, including in more specialized areas like private equity,” says Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at AJ Bell.
“They can also use leverage, borrow money to invest, which over a 24-year period can provide a tailwind to returns. The closed-end nature of investment trusts also means that they can trade at a discount or premium to the value of their underlying assets.
“This amplifies volatility, but can also lead to higher returns if the change in discount or premium is favorable between buying and selling.”
> Typical Isa fund stocks and shares have fallen over the past 12 months – while Isa cash savers have seen their returns rise slightly
The best funds often invested in riskier areas
The best performing funds and trusts over the period are invested in riskier, often niche, sectors of the market, as well as in smaller company funds.
“Notably, many of these funds and trusts have lost value over the past year – some of them quite significantly,” Khalaf says.
“The fact that they’ve still racked up enough good performance to produce Isa millionaires shows that your final investment rankings reflect returns from start to finish, not just in the top tier.”
The lack of passive trackers in top funds is notable, but that’s probably because they weren’t as prevalent in 1999, so there are very few with a long enough track record to be in contention.
The HSBC American Fund Index is knocking on the door of the millionaire fund list, however, delivering £991,986 since 1999.
|Sector||2023 Isa value||Value 2023 vs 2022|
|HgCapital Trust||Capital investment||£1,864,097||-12.95%|
|Pacific Horizon||Asia Pacific||£1,536,908||-10.24%|
|Allianz Technology Trust||Technology and media||£1,476,636||-14.94%|
|abrdn Asia Focus||Asia-Pacific Small Businesses||£1,457,424||0.39%|
|Scottish Eastern Small Businesses||Asia-Pacific Small Businesses||£1,389,359||15.10%|
|Polar Capital Technology||Technology and media||£1,363,386||-12.16%|
|Blackrock World Mining Trust||Raw materials and natural resources||£1,306,910||1.82%|
|Blackrock Throgmorton Trust||UK small businesses||£1,213,157||-14.10%|
Secrets to being a millionaire Isa
Besides opting for investment trusts, there are other secrets to help you increase your savings.
Khalaf says the first is to fund your Isa as much as you can and try to maximize the total allocation of £20,000 each year if possible.
The second is to take risks by investing in the stock market, because if you opt for safer assets with lower returns, it will take you longer to reach the million pound mark.
The lower the volatility of your portfolio, the less you can expect long-term growth.
An investment in the average global equity fund would have made a pot of £684,891, while the average UK fund trails at £539,840, although this is still double the money invested in the Isa.
The UK gilt sector hasn’t made huge strides above £283,440, which is Isa’s peak total contribution between 1999 and 2023.
Finally, time in market beats market timing, the saying goes. Getting started as early as possible will help you get closer to becoming an Isa millionaire.
|Sector||ISA 2023 Value||Value 2023 vs 2022|
|Janus Henderson Glb Tech Leaders||Technology and technological innovation||£1,213,033||-7.07%|
|CT Small Business America||North American small businesses||£1,208,671||6.61%|
|Janus Henderson European Smaller Cos||European small businesses||£1,176,653||8.00%|
|Baillie Gifford Pacific||Asia-Pacific excluding Japan||£1,172,940||-7.01%|
|abrdn Indian Stocks||India/Indian subcontinent||£1,165,278||-6.95%|
|American Baillie Gifford||North America||£1,128,495||-23.99%|
|AXA Framlington American Growth||North America||£1,124,372||-4.19%|
|Liontrust UK Small Business||UK small businesses||£1,121,107||-9.77%|
|European Small Business TC||European small businesses||£1,105,161||-0.26%|
|Schroder American Small Business||North American small businesses||£1,104,530||9.66%|
“Isa’s millionaires usually had to save hard, take risks and have a bit of luck to build up such a big pot,” says Khalaf.
“While it’s always interesting to consider the investment habits of ISA millionaires, we shouldn’t get too obsessed with the £1m mark.
“Isa savings can of course be extremely valuable at more modest levels. For example, if you are able to build an Isa pot of £200,000, this could provide you with a tax-free income of £8,000 a year in retirement without even drawing on your capital (assuming a 4% return). .
“When added to your private pension and state pension, it could be a welcome boost to your retirement income that could ensure you don’t spend your golden years counting pennies.
“It could also help you weather any unexpected financial shocks, like the current spike in energy prices. For savers with more immediate financial goals, a Lifetime Isa pot of £30,000 will go a long way towards securing a first home.
Compare the Best DIY Investment Platforms and Isa Stocks & Stocks
Investing online is simple, inexpensive and can be done from your computer, tablet or phone when and where it’s convenient for you.
When it comes to choosing a DIY investment platform, Isa stocks and shares, or a general investment account, the range of options can seem overwhelming.
Each provider has a slightly different offering, charging more or less for trading or holding stocks and providing access to a different range of stocks, funds and investment trusts.
When choosing the one that’s right for you, it’s important to consider the service it offers, as well as the administration and trading fees, and any other additional costs.
To help you compare investment accounts, we’ve analyzed the facts and put together a comprehensive guide to choosing the best and cheapest investment account for you.
We highlight the major players in the table below, but advise you to do your own research and consider the points in our full guide linked here.
>> This is Money’s complete guide to the best investment platforms and Isas
The platforms presented below are independently selected by This is Money’s specialist journalists. If you open an account using links that have an asterisk, This is Money will earn an affiliate commission. We do not allow this to affect our editorial independence.
|Administration fees||Expense||fund trading||Standard Stock, Trust, ETF Trading||Regular investment||Reinvestment of dividends|
|A.J. Bell*||0.25%||Max £3.50 per month for stocks, trusts, ETFs.||£1.50||£9.95||£1.50||£1.50 per transaction||More details|
|Bestinvest*||0.40% (0.2% for out-of-the-box wallets)||Account maintenance fees reduced to 0.2% for ready-to-use investments||Free||£4.95||Free for funds||Free for income funds||More details|
|Charles Stanley live||0.35%||No stock platform fees if a trade is made that month and an annual maximum of £240||Free||£11.50||n / A||n / A||More details|
|Loyalty*||0.35% on funds||Fees from £45 up to £7,500. Max £45 per year for stocks, trusts, ETFs||Free||£10||Free funds £1.50 stocks, ETF trusts||£1.50||More details|
|Hargreaves Lansdown*||0.45%||Capped at £45 for stocks, trusts and ETFs||Free||£11.95||£1.50||1% (minimum £1, maximum £10)||More details|
|Interactive Investor*||£9.99 per month, or £4.99 under £30,000, £12.99 for Sipp||£5.99 per month back in free trading credit (not applicable to £4.99 plan)||£5.99||£5.99||Free||€0.99||More details|
|iWeb||£100 single||£5||£5||n / A||2%, maximum £5||More details|
|Etoro*||Free but not Isa or Sipp||The investment account offers stocks and ETFs. Beware of high risk CFDs in the trading account||Not available||Free||n / A||n / A||More details|
|Free exchange*||Free for Basic account, £4.99 per month for Standard account with Isa||Freetrade Plus with more investments and Sipp is £9.99/month including tax. Isa Fee||no funds||Free||n / A||n / A||More details|
|Avant-garde||0.15%||Only Vanguard funds||Free||Free Vanguard ETFs only||Free||n / A||More details|
|(Source: ThisisMoney.co.uk January 2023. A percentage administrative charge may be levied monthly or quarterly|
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any business relationship to affect our editorial independence.