If you’d invested in these managers when confidence was at its lowest in 2008/2009 you’d be reaping returns of over 200% today - with one manager hitting 400%.
Fund: Unicorn UK Income A Inc
Kicking off our ranking of the best performing managers since the market lows of four years ago is Unicorn's John McClure.
McClure has consistently delivered returns above that of his benchmark, the FTSE 350 Higher Yield, which closely resembles the average performance of managers in the Equity UK Income sector.
With over 20 years of experience in UK equities, McClure has effectively steered the £79.5 million fund through the market's ups and downs. The industrials sector currently makes up the bulk of the fund, at 56%, and a holding in life sciences, seals and controls business Diploma is the single biggest holding at 4.9% of the fund.
Note: All performance data is from a four-year period between January 2009 and January 2013.
The second manager claiming a spot in our ranking of the strongest performers over the past four years is Citywire Euro Stars A-rated Will Landers.
The Latin American equity sector specialist is one of the sector's biggest names, and a regular in our top performing manager rankings. His return of 206% puts him well above the average manager in Latin American Equities.
Speaking to Citywire earlier this month Landers said he expects Brazil’s large caps, which have been a problematic area for his funds, to bounce back this year. 'With growth rebounding in the Brazilian economy, the prospects for government interference in the private sector should also fall, which will be good for many stocks in the large-cap universe,' he said.
Funds: Henderson HF Pan European Smaller Companies I2, Henderson Gartmore Pan European Sm Cos B EUR Acc
With a total return of 208% over the past four years Citywire Euro Stars A-rated Ollie Beckett is the next star manager on our list.
His knowledge of the small and mid-cap space of European equities has seen him outperform his benchmark - a feat not managed by the average manager in the sector.
The Henderson HF Pan European Smaller Companies fund is heavily invested in the industrials sector, at 31% of the fund, and it currently has a considerable 4.15% cash holding. The other fund on which Beckett's performance graph is based, the Henderson Gartmore Pan European Sm Cos B EUR fund, has a similar cash allocation at 4.84%.
The fund manager trio of Julian Garel-Jones, Aditya Mehta and Douglas Polunin from Polunin Capital Partners claim a place based on the strong returns of the Polunin Discovery Frontier Markets fund and the Polunin Emerging Markets Small Cap fund.
A return of 213% over the past four years saw the trio do significantly better than the average manager in the Equity Emerging Markets Global sector, which came in at 107%.
According to latest data from the end of January the Discovery fund's three biggest holdings are in Lucky Cement, DG Khan Cement and Bank Alfalah. The small-cap fund, meanwhile, has its three biggest holdings listed as Ukrainian engine maker Motor Sich, Thai technology company Loxley and Russian titanium manufacturer VSMPO-AVISMA.
Euro Stars AA-rated manager Alistair Thompson wins a place in our roundup of the strongest managers over four years based on the strengh of his Equity Malaysia/Singapore fund.
The First State Singapore & Malaysia Growth fund has returned 217% to investors over the past four years, well ahead of the 146% return of the average manager in the sector.
Launched in October of 2002, the $85.9 million fund has a 6.8% exposure to Malaysian retail chain Aeon Co Berhad, 6.1% in Asian banking firm DBS Group and 5.9% in Singapore Telecommunications.
Fund: CAM-GTF Ltd
Over the four years shown in the chart above their fund has delivered almost twice the return of the average manager in the sector at 222% versus 112%.
Some 46% of the fund is currently invested in Hong Kong, with Singapore the second biggest geographical exposure at 27%. Fixed-interest instruments form the bulk of the portfolio at 68%, with the remainder held in equities.
Frank Fischer's 230% return with the Absolutissimo fund secures him a place in our ranking of elite managers.
Fischer invests in both equities and debt, and may have as much as half of his fund's portfolio given over to real estate funds or alternative investments.
Although his medium-term performance has been extremely strong, a tough patch at the start of 2011, followed by a return to form, saw him feature in our Turnaround Stars feature in January. The fund currently ranks first out of 1,211 in the European mixed assets sector based on three-year returns.
Funds: Standard Life Inv UK Equity High Alpha Inst Acc, Standard Life Inv UK Equity Unconstrained Inst
Edward Legget has delivered an impressive 231% return over the past four years, well ahead of the average UK equities manager's return on 80%. This average manager return is somewhat below Legget's benchmark, the FTSE all-share.
His Equity Unconstrained fund has big positions in home credit business International Personal Finance (4.7%), packaging firm DS Smith (4.7%) and Lloyds Banking Group (4.2%).
The High Alpha fund also has top-three holdings in DS Smith (4.3%) and International Personal Finance (3.9%), along with HSBC (3.4%).
A four-year return of 245% from the Templeton Asian Smaller Companies fund puts Mark Mobius in fifth place overall in our rankings.
With over 24 years of fund management experience, Mobius has spent more than 40 years working in emerging markets all over the world. Speaking to Citywire Global from Nairobi in December the veteran investor said the Bank of Japan’s ongoing monetary stimulus plans would have repercussions for trade across the region.
His fund's biggest holdings are in Bajaj Holdings & Investment (5%), Tata Chemicals (5%) and Sa Sa International Holdings (3%).
Fund: Didner & Gerge Smabolag
Their Didner & Gerge Smabolag fund currently ranks second out of 77 funds in the Equity Nordic sector over three years.
According to factsheet data from the end of 2012 industrial goods and services is the fund's biggest sector at 33%, with finance and property in second place at 23% and IT bringing up the rear with a 14% allocation.
Cash management specialist Loomis is the fund's biggest allocation with a 9.5% allocation, followed by Jyske Bank at 8.1% and Sydbank, again with 8.1%.
Claiming the bronze medal with a four-year return of 273% is Angelika Millendorfer, who has over 17 years of global research and portfolio management experience.
The Russian equities sector has seen marked volatility over the period represented in the graph above, with the benchmark RTS index taking a pounding over the summer of 2011. Nonetheless, it's delivered over 200% over the past four years.
According to factsheet data running to 25 February the energy sector is perhaps predictably the biggest part of the fund, accounting for 30.5% of holdings. The biggest single holding, however, is in Sberbank of Russia at 8.7, followed by the country's second largest oil company, Lukoil (6.6%), and Russian retail giant Magnit (6.1%).
Already boasting Citywire's highest accolade of a AAA Euro Stars rating, Alex Wright can now also claim second place in our four-year perfomance ranking.
His Fidelity UK Smaller Companies fund has returned a whopping 291% over four years, leaving the average Equity UK Small & Mid Cap manager's 132% return trailing in his wake. His benchmark, the FTSE Small Cap index, has done a bit better with a 160% return.
Wright’s performance figures combine his tenure on the Fidelity UK Smaller Companies fund and also its previous incarnation, the Fidelity Inst UK Smaller Companies strategy, which was rolled into the existing format in April 2011.
At the end of January, Wright had a preference for consumer discretionary stocks, which made up nearly 30% of his fund’s allocation by sector. This compares to 17.3% allocation to industrials, financials (13.6%) and IT (10%).
Fund: PYN Elite
Bangkok-based Petri Deryng, a founder and fund manager of PYN Fund Management, claims first place in our rankings with a four-year return of 400%, almost four times the average for managers in the Equity Emerging Markets Asia sector.
The high-conviction fund consistently outperformed over the four years represented in the chart above, but really began to motor last summer. The Finland-domiciled fund can invest across the globe, but Deryng’s strategy aims to concentrate investments in one country at a time.
His two top positions, which currently both make up around 19% each of his fund, are Thai property group Sansiri and Thai industrial group Ticon.