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A survey by Haaretz has crowned brokers IBI Mutual Funds Management, Epsilon Investment House and Simodan Commodities as the outstanding mutual fund managers of 2005. The seventh annual survey ranks stock-oriented funds based on their annual return relative to the benchmark stock indices, inidcating which ones delivered the goods.

IBI boasted four funds that outperformed the market, with five returning over 30 percent. Epsilon had three funds which beat the market, two of which have outperformed since 2001.

Simodan, while smaller than the other two, took its place in the top three thanks to its investor's mutual fund, which came top among flexible mutual funds in both 2004 and 2005. Simodan's mutual fund bested all others between 2001 and 2005 with a return of 167 percent. Simodan turned its investor's mutual fund, which had a reputation for being conservative, into a flexible, active and aggressive fund. The company identified the wave of price increases in raw materials worldwide and primarily invests in energy as well as gold and silver mining companies.

The banks, which control 85 percent of the mutual fund market, were among the worst performers of 2005. For example, all 14 of Bank Hapoalim's Lahak group funds underperformed the market, while only two of 12 funds at Psagot - considered the best of the bank funds - beat market indices in 2005, and not one managed that feat between 2001 and 2005.