About First Class Funds

About First Class Funds

There are many things to consider when investing but perhaps the most important, is which fund or funds you choose.

There are over 3,000 funds in the UK. Whilst there is plenty of information available to the investor - fund facts, manager interviews, performance information, fund analysis and comment - sorting the wheat from the chaff and finding the best funds can be time-consuming and challenging.

The First Class Funds list is designed to help you find well managed, proven funds that may satisfy the investment objectives you have set yourself.

We have gone through the process of collating research and information that is available, some of it readily accessible, some of it less so, and refining it in to a streamlined list of funds across a variety of sectors.

The list isn't definitive, but it is independent. The strict criteria that we have developed are adhered to - if the fund does not meet those criteria then it doesn't make the cut. Fund groups cannot pay to have their funds included. We are only interested in funds that make it on merit.

Think of the list as a starting point for identifying the funds that are right for your own circumstances.

We update the list half yearly in January and July. Updates are also available on request by post or email and for download from our website.

View the latest list here

Read the First Class Funds publication here

How we choose the funds?

Our First Class Funds list has been built and is maintained based on a strict process for evaluation of a fund.

The aim of our process is to be objective in the criteria that are used to filter funds down to the final list. We have, however, had to make some subjective decisions along the way.

From the initial universe of around 3,000 UK retail funds we have filtered out those which are less than three years old and/or smaller than £50million.

Once the initial filtering is complete we look at the opinions of the two major fund rating agencies, Morningstar OBSR (Old Broad Street Research) and S&P (Standard & Poor's). Their analysts assess funds on both a qualitative and quantitative basis and only a minority of funds even qualify for a rating.

At this stage the funds are organised into sectors before we apply the performance ratings.

The FE crown fund ratings are applied to equity funds. For bond funds, we overlay Lipper Leader ratings.

Only funds scoring highly enough will qualify for our First Class Funds list.

The list is updated on a half yearly basis over the calendar year. Changes are highlighted and an updated list published shortly after the end of each period.


Who provides the Research?

We use the research and analysis provided by some of the leading analysts and providers of financial statistics.

Morningstar OBSR provides high quality independent investment and product research. Based in London, its forward- looking fund ratings, based on qualitative and supported by quantitative research, has led it to become one of the leading rating agencies in the UK. A Morningstar OBSR Analyst RatingTM of Gold, Silver or Bronze is acknowledged to be a sign of quality.
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Lipper is a market leader in fund intelligence and supplies mutual fund information, analytical tools and commentary world wide. 
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Financial Express is the largest distributor of fund data in the UK. Its services are used by many of the UK fund management companies as well as leading third party companies, such as Thompson Financial, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters.
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Square Mile is an independent investment research business that works in partnership with regulated professional financial services firms. A Square Mile Fund Rating denotes a fund that is truly “best in class”. The rating (A, AA, or AAA) is a mark of quality that represents a high and rising level of conviction that the fund will deliver its objectives. AAA is the highest level of conviction in the fund and its manager, and is a practical demonstration of Square Mile’s belief in the long-term consistent delivery of the fund’s objectives.


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