Top performing investment company sectors over the last decade

Biotechnology & Healthcare was the top performing investment company sector of the last decade, data from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) can reveal. The sector produced an impressive return of 491% from 2010 to 2019, compared to a return of 198% for the average investment company over the same period.

Investment companies focused on smaller companies also delivered strong returns. The UK Smaller Companies and Global Smaller Companies sectors were the second and third best performing sectors of the decade and delivered 379% and 330% respectively. European Smaller Companies (10th) also featured in the top ten.

Top 10 investment company sectors by % share price total return from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2019

Share Price Total Returns

01/01/10 - 31/12/19

AIC sector

10 years (%)

Overall weighted average ex. VCTs



Biotechnology & Healthcare



UK Smaller Companies



Global Smaller Companies



Private Equity









UK All Companies



North America






European Smaller Companies


Source: AIC/Morningstar 


Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “It’s encouraging to see a diverse spectrum of investment company sectors perform so strongly over the last decade. While Biotechnology & Healthcare was the top performing sector by some margin, two UK equity sectors made it into the top ten despite the Brexit referendum and subsequent lack of clarity surrounding the UK’s exit.

“The closed-ended investment company structure lends itself particularly well to illiquid alternative investments and over the past decade the Private Equity and Infrastructure sectors have both delivered particularly strong returns. Three smaller company sectors feature in the top ten best performers, demonstrating that investment companies are the best vehicle for holding smaller companies which can be hard to sell in times of stress. In addition, investors who have favoured investment companies to gain overseas exposure via the Japan, Global and North America sectors have been handsomely rewarded.

“It’s always interesting to look back at the best performing companies, but it’s important to remember that past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Investment companies cover a broad variety of sectors, risk profiles and geographical exposure to match a range of investor needs. When investing you should consider your objectives and the level of risk you are willing to take and, if you have any concerns, you should speak to a financial adviser.”


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  1. Data source: AIC/Morningstar. Sector averages are weighted by market capitalisation.  Data is not available for sectors with fewer than 3 constituents throughout the period.  Performance is % share price total return from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2019. The average investment company performance excludes VCTs.
  2. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) was founded in 1932 to represent the interests of the investment trust industry – the oldest form of collective investment.  Today, the AIC represents a broad range of closed-ended investment companies, incorporating investment trusts and other closed-ended investment companies and VCTs. The AIC’s members believe that the industry is best served if it is united and speaks with one voice. The AIC’s mission statement is to help members add value for shareholders over the longer term. The AIC has 362 members and the industry has total assets of approximately £199 billion.
  3. Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release does not constitute investment advice or personal recommendation and it is not an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity. You should seek independent financial and, if appropriate, legal advice as to the suitability of any investment decision. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.  The value of investment company shares, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise.  You may not get back the full amount invested and, in some cases, nothing at all.
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