Top 10 Best Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)

Which mutual funds in the Philippines are the best ones to invest in? That is a tough question to answer because the word “best” is relative and it’s difficult to identify the “best mutual funds” based on one criteria alone.

One of our main goals here in PinoyMoneyTalk is to provide objective and useful information about investments, so we’ll just help you arrive at your own decision, rather force you our definition, regarding the best mutual funds that are worthy of your investment.

In this article, we’ll show you:

  1. performance ranking of all mutual funds in the Philippines based on returns; and
  2. three (3) things to look for when investing in a mutual fund.

With this guide, we hope that you’ll be able to make an informed decision regarding where to put your money.

Best Mutual Funds in the Philippines in 2019

We invest with the primary goal of making money, which is why the performance of a mutual fund, summarized by its rate of return, is an appealing metric to most investors. If your ultimate investment goal is to quickly grow money, choose funds that can provide you the highest possible returns.

We looked at the overall performance of all mutual funds in the Philippines during the first three (3) months of the year. We ranked and summarized below the top 10 mutual funds with the highest returns from January 2019 until the end of March 2019.

Ranking of Best Mutual Funds in the Philippines
Top 10 Philippine Mutual Funds based on return from January to March 2019

*PinoyMoneyTalk’s Guide on How to Invest in Franchises, UITF, Mutual Funds, and ETF:

Top 10 Best Mutual Funds in 2019

RankMutual Fund / ETFTypeJan-March 2019 Return (in %)
1ATRAM Alpha Opportunity FundEquity Mutual Fund12.26%
2MBG Equity Investment FundEquity Mutual Fund9.76%
3Soldivo Strategic Growth FundEquity Mutual Fund7.42%
4Sun Life Prosperity Dynamic FundBalanced Mutual Fund7.19%
5Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity FundEquity Mutual Fund6.86%
6Philequity PSE Index FundEquity Mutual Fund6.44%
7First Metro Phil. Equity Exchange Traded FundEquity Exchange Traded Fund6.41%
8Philippine Stock Index FundEquity Mutual Fund6.34%
9United FundEquity Mutual Fund6.32%
10Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index FundEquity Mutual Fund6.15%

You might argue that some mutual funds are not comparable with each other since each fund has varying investment mandate. A money market fund that invests in securities that mature in one year or less, for example, certainly does not compare well to an equity fund investing in shares of stocks of a publicly listed company.

But if your primary goal is to quickly grow your money, you might want to place investment in a fund that can provide the highest return, regardless of asset class.

However, if you’re already set to invest in a particular type of mutual fund, say, bond fund or balanced fund, but are still unsure which specific fund to invest in, then you’ll surely find useful our full ranking below of mutual funds by asset class.

Here’s a listing of all funds, categorized by asset class, showing individual fund performance (measured by gain or loss), from the beginning of January 2019 until the end of March 2019.

We also include below the performance of the one and only Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) currently offered in the Philippines, that is, First Metro Philippine Equity ETF.

Best Equity Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Peso Equity FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1ATRAM Alpha Opportunity Fund12.26%1.81%10.41%4.93%
2MBG Equity Investment Fund9.76%11.32%--
3Soldivo Strategic Growth Fund7.42%1.02%1.72%-
4Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund6.86%0.39%3.21%3.11%
5Philequity PSE Index Fund6.44%-1.22%3.09%4.18%
6Philippine Stock Index Fund6.34%-1.09%2.78%4.14%
7United Fund6.32%1.52%4.97%4.20%
8Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index Fund6.15%-1.60%2.78%-
9Philequity Fund6.08%-0.50%3.76%4.24%
10Philam Strategic Growth Fund6.06%-1.19%1.28%1.79%
11First Metro Consumer Fund on MSCI Phils. IMI5.99%---
12PAMI Equity Index Fund5.97%-1.38%2.21%-
13Climbs Share Capital Equity Investment Fund5.78%-1.42%--
14ATRAM Philippine Equity Opportunity Fund5.56%-4.78%1.70%1.05%
15One Wealthy Nation Fund5.53%-4.40%-4.29%-
16ALFM Growth Fund5.13%-3.47%1.39%2.16%
17Philequity Dividend Yield Fund4.90%-0.44%2.87%4.96%
18First Metro Save and Learn Equity Fund4.43%-1.43%1.52%1.83%
19Philequity MSCI Philippine Index Fund0.68%---

Best ETF in the Philippines (2019)

 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund6.41%-0.72%3.85%5.22%

Best Dollar Equity Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Dollar Equity FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1Sun Life Prosperity World Voyager Fund13.49%-1.20%--
2ATRAM AsiaPlus Equity Fund8.52%-9.98%6.26%1.45%

Best Balanced Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Peso Balanced FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1Sun Life Prosperity Dynamic Fund7.19%1.46%1.66%-
2Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Balanced Fund5.74%0.86%1.51%2.04%
3ATRAM Philippine Balanced Fund5.15%-1.70%1.35%1.35%
4ATRAM Dynamic Allocation Fund4.71%-2.35%-0.36%-0.72%
5Philam Fund4.70%-0.39%0.39%1.04%
6First Metro Save and Learn Balanced Fund4.39%-0.12%-0.38%-0.73%
7PAMI Horizon Fund4.34%-1.67%0.09%0.96%
8NCM Mutual Fund of the Phils.4.05%0.19%1.34%1.82%
9Grepalife Balanced Fund Corporation?3.80%-2.99%--
10Solidaritas Fund3.75%-0.38%1.67%2.64%
11Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2028----
12Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2038----
13Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2048----

Best Dollar Balanced Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Dollar Balanced FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Advantage Fund10.07%-0.52%5.68%2.57%
2Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Wellspring Fund6.89%-1.04%--
3PAMI Asia Balanced Fund5.11%-7.40%3.30%-0.18%
4Cocolife Dollar Fund Builder2.52%2.38%0.53%1.63%
Best mutual funds to invest in the Philippines?

Best Bond Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Peso Bond FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Bond Fund4.41%4.47%1.33%1.84%
2Sun Life Prosperity GS Fund4.27%4.27%0.84%1.42%
3Soldivo Bond Fund3.28%1.35%-0.43%-
4Philam Bond Fund3.00%1.23%-0.32%0.83%
5First Metro Save and Learn Fixed Income Fund2.87%2.66%0.68%1.06%
6Philequity Peso Bond Fund2.53%3.62%0.97%1.21%
7Grepalife Fixed Income Fund Corp.2.44%0.45%-0.86%0.33%
8Ekklesia Mutual Fund Inc.1.33%2.49%1.19%1.77%
9Cocolife Fixed Income Fund1.12%5.34%5.22%5.26%
10ALFM Peso Bond Fund1.08%2.79%2.11%2.06%
11ATRAM Corporate Bond Fund0.94%0.50%-0.33%-0.34%

Best Dollar / Euro Bond Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Dollar / Euro Bond FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1Philam Dollar Bond Fund4.19%3.59%0.71%2.91%
2Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Abundance Fund3.70%1.42%0.12%2.17%
3ATRAM Total Return Dollar Bond Fund3.40%4.13%1.58%2.23%
4PAMI Global Bond Fund2.77%2.04%-0.46%-2.13%
5Philequity Dollar Income Fund1.92%2.17%1.20%1.77%
6ALFM Euro Bond Fund1.61%1.68%1.47%1.62%
7First Metro Save and Learn Dollar Bond Fund1.61%1.61%0.81%-?
8Grepalife Dollar Bond Fund Corp.1.42%-0.78%-1.15%0.90%
9ALFM Dollar Bond Fund1.20%2.56%1.91%2.91%
10MAA Privilege Dollar Fixed Income Fund----
11MAA Privilege Euro Fixed Income Fund----

Best Money Market Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Peso Money Market FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1ALFM Money Market Fund1.13%3.45%2.18%1.75%
2Philam Managed Income Fund1.03%2.71%1.07%0.73%
3Sun Life Prosperity Money Market Fund1.01%3.16%2.45%1.81%
4First Metro Save and Learn Money Market Fund----

Best Dollar Money Market Funds in the Philippines (2019)

 Dollar Money Market FundJan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %1-Year Gain (Loss) %3-Year Gain (Loss) %5-Year Gain (Loss) %
1Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Starter Fund0.61%2.07%--

Top 10 Mutual Funds in the Philippines in 2018, 2017, 2016

Checking again the list of “Top 10 Best Performing Funds in 2019” infographic above, some of you might argue that there is no point comparing all mutual funds since equity mutual funds will always emerge as top performers.

That’s because these funds are invested in stocks and stocks, no doubt, generate the highest profits every year. Well, guess what, this is NOT true all the time!

In fact, we monitored the historical returns of mutual fund companies in the Philippines from 2016 to 2018, and our conclusion is that:

  • 1. No single class of mutual funds — whether equity or balance or bond funds — was able to dominate returns year after year; and
  • 2. Interestingly, there were years that Bond Funds, not Equity Funds, made more money; while in some years, Money Market Funds even managed to outperform Balanced Funds.

Top 10 Best Performing Mutual Funds (2018)

RankMutual FundType2018 Return (in %)
1Cocolife Fixed Income FundBond Mutual Fund5.25%
2Sun Life Prosperity Money Market FundMoney Market Mutual Fund2.79%
3ALFM Money Market FundMoney Market Mutual Fund2.73%
4Philam Managed Income FundMoney Market Mutual Fund2.08%
5ALFM Peso Bond FundBond Mutual Fund1.86%
6Ekklesia Mutual FundBond Mutual Fund1.34%
7Philequity Peso Bond FundBond Mutual Fund0.25%
8First Metro Save and Learn Fixed Income FundBond Mutual Fund-0.33%
9Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Bond FundBond Mutual Fund-0.44%
10Sun Life Prosperity GS FundBond Mutual Fund-0.70%

In 2018, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended the year with a dismal performance of -12.76%. This meant an amount of P100,000 invested at the PSEi at the beginning of 2018 was just worth P87,240.00 — a loss of P12,760 — by the end of December 2018.

Unsurprisingly, equity mutual funds performed poorly, which is why the list of Top 10 Mutual Funds in 2018 is actually dominated by “Bond Mutual Funds” as seen in the table above.

Money market mutual funds, supposedly the most conservative category of funds, managed to have 3 funds in the Top 10 list — proof again that any type of fund can be the best performing given the prevailing sentiment in the market.

Also notice that only seven (7) funds, out of dozens of mutual funds in the list, managed to end the year with a positive gain. All the rest incurred a loss. This is the reason why, even though we’re showing the Top 10 best performing funds, the last 3 in the list obtained negative performance, but these are supposedly the best ones already with the least amount of losses compared to other funds.

Top 10 Best Performing Mutual Funds (2017)

The year 2017 was again a banner year for equity mutual funds in the Philippines. With the PSEi reaching all-time high levels that year, the list of Top 10 Best Mutual Funds in 2017 was all filled by equity funds.

RankMutual FundType2017 Return (in %)
1Philequity PSE Index FundEquity Mutual Fund24.71%
2United FundEquity Mutual Fund24.57%
3Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index FundEquity Mutual Fund24.56%
4Philippine Stock Index FundEquity Mutual Fund24.39%
5PAMI Equity Index FundEquity Mutual Fund24.08%
6Philequity FundEquity Mutual Fund23.01%
7Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity FundEquity Mutual Fund22.04%
8First Metro Save and Learn Equity FundEquity Mutual Fund22.02%
9ALFM Growth FundEquity Mutual Fund21.77%
10ATRAM Alpha Opportunity FundEquity Mutual Fund21.46%

Top 10 Best Performing Mutual Funds (2016)

RankMutual FundType2016 Return (in %)
1ATRAM Alpha Opportunity FundEquity Mutual Fund11.71%
2Cocolife Fixed Income FundBond Mutual Fund5.85%
3ATRAM Philippine Equity Opportunity FundEquity Mutual Fund4.86%
4ATRAM Philippine Balanced FundBalanced Mutual Fund3.39%
5ALFM Peso Bond FundBond Mutual Fund2.06%
6Sun Life Prosperity Money Market FundMoney Market Mutual Fund1.90%
7Ekklesia Mutual FundBond Mutual Fund1.56%
8Philam Bond FundBond Mutual Fund1.22%
9ALFM Money Market FundMoney Market Mutual Fund1.13%
10Soldivo Bond FundBond Mutual Fund0.51%

And yet in 2016, it was again a different story for mutual fund companies. Bond mutual funds dominated the list that year, with 5 funds being included in the Top 10 list.

Meanwhile, only 2 equity funds managed to break into the Top 10, with 2 money market funds and 1 balanced fund completing the list.

3 Things to Consider When Looking for a Good Mutual Fund

So which mutual fund to invest in?

Without a doubt, returns or profits earned by the fund is one of the most important criteria to consider when deciding which mutual fund to invest in. But trust us when we say that this should not be your one and only criteria. Other factors should be considered because these, too, can affect the financial performance of a fund.

Here are three (3) things about mutual funds that you should assess before choosing which ones to invest your money.

What to look for in a mutual fund

1. Long-Term Return or Performance

The fund performance, summarized by the rate of return or profit generated, is a very important consideration before investing. But don’t get easily blinded by a fund’s outstanding performance in the short run. Take note: historical performance is not a guarantee of future returns.

Focus instead on consistent and long-term performance: preferably 3-year or 5-year returns, or even longer. This is also the reason why we included the 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year returns of mutual funds in our fund rankings above.

You don’t want returns that are “flash in the pan” — meaning, a winning streak for a period of time that cannot be replicated or repeated. We can’t tell you which specific rate of return would make a fund the best of the best, but choose one that consistently outperforms its benchmark or other funds in its category.

In the case of equity mutual funds, opt for funds that consistently beat the performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi).

For money market mutual funds, meanwhile, choose funds that beat the interest rates of Time Deposits with one-year maturity.

2. Investment Style: Active vs. Passive Management

Assess your investment objective and determine if an actively or passively managed fund suits you better.

Actively managed funds are mutual funds managed by investment managers who make trading decisions with the goal of outperforming a benchmark index and achieving “alpha” returns.

Passively managed funds, on the other hand, are mutual funds managed by investment managers with the simple goal of tracking and duplicating the performance of an index. As such, they are also called “index funds”.

Here’s a table summarizing key differences between these two types of funds.

Comparison: Active vs. Passive Mutual Funds

 Actively Managed FundsPassively Managed Funds
GoalOutperform the index and achieve "alpha" returnsMimic the index and achieve similar returns
Strategy"Beat the market""Set and forget"
Choice of SecuritiesMay invest in securities outside the benchmark index that could produce higher returnsLimited to investing in securities that are included in the benchmark index
FeesTypically charge higher fees as payment for expertise of the fund managerTypically charge lower fees since fund manager merely adopts index-linked strategy

Which one is better? Well, this depends on your assessment of your investment goal and risk appetite.

If you’re able to take more risks and you’re willing to trust the mutual fund’s investment manager to make decisions that could potentially generate you higher profits (but also possibility of loss), opt for actively managed funds.

If, on the other hand, you simply prefer to achieve returns that are very similar to the index without significant deviations from the index performance, then passively managed funds are the ones for you.

3. Asset Class: Equity / Balanced / Bond / Money Market

In the Philippines, there are currently four (4) types of asset classes in mutual funds, and the decision which one to choose should depend on your investment horizon and risk appetite. We explain each mutual fund type below and then provide our suggested matching of investment fund based on your investment goal and personality.

Pooled funds vs. Stocks vs. Bonds

I. Equity or Stock Funds

Equity or Stock funds primarily invest in the shares of publicly-listed corporations. The fund’s objective is typically capital appreciation or long-term growth through capital gains. Dividends earned from the shares are also an important source of income for the fund.

Equity funds carry relatively more risk compared to other assets but historically provide higher returns as well. Most peso-denominated equity funds invest in companies whose shares are listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange. Some dollar-denominated funds, meanwhile, invest in stocks traded in foreign stock exchanges.

II. Bond Funds

Bond funds invest primarily in fixed-income securities issued by the government or large domestic corporations. Examples of fixed-income securities include government bonds (such as Treasury bills and Treasury notes) and corporate bonds. Because bulk of the fund’s investments are in securities with a fixed rate of return, bond funds are generally considered to be less risky versus equity funds.

III. Balanced Funds

Balanced funds are a type of pooled funds invested in a mixture of equities and fixed-income securities. The goal is to provide total return consisting of a high level of income consistent with preservation of capital and liquidity.

Balanced funds are ideal for investors who want the benefits of both stocks (capital appreciation) and fixed-income securities (preservation of capital).

IV. Money Market Funds

Finally, money market funds provide current income to investors by placing the pooled funds in short-term securities with maturities of one year or less. Among the four types of investment funds, money market funds provide the least amount of risk.

Examples of investment assets that usually comprise the portfolio of a money market fund are short-term government securities, special deposit arrangements, short-term notes, and time deposits.

How to Choose the Best Mutual Fund for You?

The decision about the type of fund to invest in should depend on your investment objective, risk profile, and investment horizon.

For instance, if you’re looking for high returns (specifically, capital appreciation), you might want to invest in equity funds or balanced funds, provided that you are also willing to absorb potential losses (i.e., high tolerance for risk) and have no need for the invested capital in the short run (i.e., long-term investment horizon).

Equity or balanced funds are usually not advisable for an investor with a low tolerance for risk and with a short-term investment horizon. As risky investments, equity or balanced funds could fluctuate in prices and produce losses in the short run. The investor might decide to withdraw but, in the process, he or she could realize a loss on the investment. For these types of investors, a more conservative bond fund or money market fund might be more appropriate.

The following table summarizes the type of fund applicable to investors depending on their investment profile.

Mutual Fund options based on Investor Profile

Type of FundIncome ObjectiveRisk ToleranceInvestment Period
Equity FundCapital AppreciationHigh RiskLong-term (At least 5 years)
Balanced FundTotal ReturnMedium RiskMid- to Long-term (3 to 5 years)
Bond FundCurrent IncomeMedium RiskShort- to Mid-term (1 to 3 years)
Money Market FundCapital PreservationLow RiskShort-term (1 year or less)

For example, an investor with an income objective of capital appreciation (capital growth) and with high risk tolerance (able to absorb potential losses) and with long-term investment horizon (at least 5 years) will benefit greatly by investing in an equity mutual fund.

Meanwhile, an investor whose income goal is merely to preserve capital and with relatively low risk tolerance (i.e., not willing to accept possibility of monetary loss) with a short-term investment horizon (a few months to one year) would find money market fund a more appropriate investment option.

With this, we hope we’ve helped you decide which mutual fund is best for you! Happy investing!

Data Source of Fund Performance: Philippine Investment Funds Association (PIFA)

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