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:
- performance ranking of all mutual funds in the Philippines based on returns; and
- 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.
*PinoyMoneyTalk’s Guide on How to Invest in Franchises, UITF, Mutual Funds, and ETF:
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- Investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)
Top 10 Best Mutual Funds in 2019
|Rank||Mutual Fund / ETF||Type||Jan-March 2019 Return (in %)|
|1||ATRAM Alpha Opportunity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||12.26%|
|2||MBG Equity Investment Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||9.76%|
|3||Soldivo Strategic Growth Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||7.42%|
|4||Sun Life Prosperity Dynamic Fund||Balanced Mutual Fund||7.19%|
|5||Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||6.86%|
|6||Philequity PSE Index Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||6.44%|
|7||First Metro Phil. Equity Exchange Traded Fund||Equity Exchange Traded Fund||6.41%|
|8||Philippine Stock Index Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||6.34%|
|9||United Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||6.32%|
|10||Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||6.15%|
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 Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||ATRAM Alpha Opportunity Fund||12.26%||1.81%||10.41%||4.93%|
|2||MBG Equity Investment Fund||9.76%||11.32%||-||-|
|3||Soldivo Strategic Growth Fund||7.42%||1.02%||1.72%||-|
|4||Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund||6.86%||0.39%||3.21%||3.11%|
|5||Philequity PSE Index Fund||6.44%||-1.22%||3.09%||4.18%|
|6||Philippine Stock Index Fund||6.34%||-1.09%||2.78%||4.14%|
|8||Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index Fund||6.15%||-1.60%||2.78%||-|
|10||Philam Strategic Growth Fund||6.06%||-1.19%||1.28%||1.79%|
|11||First Metro Consumer Fund on MSCI Phils. IMI||5.99%||-||-||-|
|12||PAMI Equity Index Fund||5.97%||-1.38%||2.21%||-|
|13||Climbs Share Capital Equity Investment Fund||5.78%||-1.42%||-||-|
|14||ATRAM Philippine Equity Opportunity Fund||5.56%||-4.78%||1.70%||1.05%|
|15||One Wealthy Nation Fund||5.53%||-4.40%||-4.29%||-|
|16||ALFM Growth Fund||5.13%||-3.47%||1.39%||2.16%|
|17||Philequity Dividend Yield Fund||4.90%||-0.44%||2.87%||4.96%|
|18||First Metro Save and Learn Equity Fund||4.43%||-1.43%||1.52%||1.83%|
|19||Philequity MSCI Philippine Index Fund||0.68%||-||-||-|
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) %|
|1||First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund||6.41%||-0.72%||3.85%||5.22%|
Best Dollar Equity Funds in the Philippines (2019)
|Dollar Equity Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||Sun Life Prosperity World Voyager Fund||13.49%||-1.20%||-||-|
|2||ATRAM AsiaPlus Equity Fund||8.52%||-9.98%||6.26%||1.45%|
Best Balanced Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)
|Peso Balanced Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||Sun Life Prosperity Dynamic Fund||7.19%||1.46%||1.66%||-|
|2||Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Balanced Fund||5.74%||0.86%||1.51%||2.04%|
|3||ATRAM Philippine Balanced Fund||5.15%||-1.70%||1.35%||1.35%|
|4||ATRAM Dynamic Allocation Fund||4.71%||-2.35%||-0.36%||-0.72%|
|6||First Metro Save and Learn Balanced Fund||4.39%||-0.12%||-0.38%||-0.73%|
|7||PAMI Horizon Fund||4.34%||-1.67%||0.09%||0.96%|
|8||NCM Mutual Fund of the Phils.||4.05%||0.19%||1.34%||1.82%|
|9||Grepalife Balanced Fund Corporation?||3.80%||-2.99%||-||-|
|11||Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2028||-||-||-||-|
|12||Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2038||-||-||-||-|
|13||Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2048||-||-||-||-|
Best Dollar Balanced Funds in the Philippines (2019)
|Dollar Balanced Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Advantage Fund||10.07%||-0.52%||5.68%||2.57%|
|2||Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Wellspring Fund||6.89%||-1.04%||-||-|
|3||PAMI Asia Balanced Fund||5.11%||-7.40%||3.30%||-0.18%|
|4||Cocolife Dollar Fund Builder||2.52%||2.38%||0.53%||1.63%|
Best Bond Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)
|Peso Bond Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Bond Fund||4.41%||4.47%||1.33%||1.84%|
|2||Sun Life Prosperity GS Fund||4.27%||4.27%||0.84%||1.42%|
|3||Soldivo Bond Fund||3.28%||1.35%||-0.43%||-|
|4||Philam Bond Fund||3.00%||1.23%||-0.32%||0.83%|
|5||First Metro Save and Learn Fixed Income Fund||2.87%||2.66%||0.68%||1.06%|
|6||Philequity Peso Bond Fund||2.53%||3.62%||0.97%||1.21%|
|7||Grepalife Fixed Income Fund Corp.||2.44%||0.45%||-0.86%||0.33%|
|8||Ekklesia Mutual Fund Inc.||1.33%||2.49%||1.19%||1.77%|
|9||Cocolife Fixed Income Fund||1.12%||5.34%||5.22%||5.26%|
|10||ALFM Peso Bond Fund||1.08%||2.79%||2.11%||2.06%|
|11||ATRAM Corporate Bond Fund||0.94%||0.50%||-0.33%||-0.34%|
Best Dollar / Euro Bond Funds in the Philippines (2019)
|Dollar / Euro Bond Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||Philam Dollar Bond Fund||4.19%||3.59%||0.71%||2.91%|
|2||Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Abundance Fund||3.70%||1.42%||0.12%||2.17%|
|3||ATRAM Total Return Dollar Bond Fund||3.40%||4.13%||1.58%||2.23%|
|4||PAMI Global Bond Fund||2.77%||2.04%||-0.46%||-2.13%|
|5||Philequity Dollar Income Fund||1.92%||2.17%||1.20%||1.77%|
|6||ALFM Euro Bond Fund||1.61%||1.68%||1.47%||1.62%|
|7||First Metro Save and Learn Dollar Bond Fund||1.61%||1.61%||0.81%||-?|
|8||Grepalife Dollar Bond Fund Corp.||1.42%||-0.78%||-1.15%||0.90%|
|9||ALFM Dollar Bond Fund||1.20%||2.56%||1.91%||2.91%|
|10||MAA Privilege Dollar Fixed Income Fund||-||-||-||-|
|11||MAA Privilege Euro Fixed Income Fund||-||-||-||-|
Best Money Market Mutual Funds in the Philippines (2019)
|Peso Money Market Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||ALFM Money Market Fund||1.13%||3.45%||2.18%||1.75%|
|2||Philam Managed Income Fund||1.03%||2.71%||1.07%||0.73%|
|3||Sun Life Prosperity Money Market Fund||1.01%||3.16%||2.45%||1.81%|
|4||First Metro Save and Learn Money Market Fund||-||-||-||-|
Best Dollar Money Market Funds in the Philippines (2019)
|Dollar Money Market Fund||Jan-March 2019 Gain (Loss) %||1-Year Gain (Loss) %||3-Year Gain (Loss) %||5-Year Gain (Loss) %|
|1||Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Starter Fund||0.61%||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)
|Rank||Mutual Fund||Type||2018 Return (in %)|
|1||Cocolife Fixed Income Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||5.25%|
|2||Sun Life Prosperity Money Market Fund||Money Market Mutual Fund||2.79%|
|3||ALFM Money Market Fund||Money Market Mutual Fund||2.73%|
|4||Philam Managed Income Fund||Money Market Mutual Fund||2.08%|
|5||ALFM Peso Bond Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||1.86%|
|6||Ekklesia Mutual Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||1.34%|
|7||Philequity Peso Bond Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||0.25%|
|8||First Metro Save and Learn Fixed Income Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||-0.33%|
|9||Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Bond Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||-0.44%|
|10||Sun Life Prosperity GS Fund||Bond 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.
|Rank||Mutual Fund||Type||2017 Return (in %)|
|1||Philequity PSE Index Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||24.71%|
|2||United Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||24.57%|
|3||Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||24.56%|
|4||Philippine Stock Index Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||24.39%|
|5||PAMI Equity Index Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||24.08%|
|6||Philequity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||23.01%|
|7||Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||22.04%|
|8||First Metro Save and Learn Equity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||22.02%|
|9||ALFM Growth Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||21.77%|
|10||ATRAM Alpha Opportunity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||21.46%|
Top 10 Best Performing Mutual Funds (2016)
|Rank||Mutual Fund||Type||2016 Return (in %)|
|1||ATRAM Alpha Opportunity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||11.71%|
|2||Cocolife Fixed Income Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||5.85%|
|3||ATRAM Philippine Equity Opportunity Fund||Equity Mutual Fund||4.86%|
|4||ATRAM Philippine Balanced Fund||Balanced Mutual Fund||3.39%|
|5||ALFM Peso Bond Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||2.06%|
|6||Sun Life Prosperity Money Market Fund||Money Market Mutual Fund||1.90%|
|7||Ekklesia Mutual Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||1.56%|
|8||Philam Bond Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||1.22%|
|9||ALFM Money Market Fund||Money Market Mutual Fund||1.13%|
|10||Soldivo Bond Fund||Bond Mutual Fund||0.51%|
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.
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 Funds||Passively Managed Funds|
|Goal||Outperform the index and achieve "alpha" returns||Mimic the index and achieve similar returns|
|Strategy||"Beat the market"||"Set and forget"|
|Choice of Securities||May invest in securities outside the benchmark index that could produce higher returns||Limited to investing in securities that are included in the benchmark index|
|Fees||Typically charge higher fees as payment for expertise of the fund manager||Typically 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.
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 Fund||Income Objective||Risk Tolerance||Investment Period|
|Equity Fund||Capital Appreciation||High Risk||Long-term (At least 5 years)|
|Balanced Fund||Total Return||Medium Risk||Mid- to Long-term (3 to 5 years)|
|Bond Fund||Current Income||Medium Risk||Short- to Mid-term (1 to 3 years)|
|Money Market Fund||Capital Preservation||Low Risk||Short-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)
* Check out our FREE Resources on Franchises, Mutual Funds, Unit Investment Trust Funds, and Exchange Traded Funds!
- 99 Best Franchises in the Philippines below P1 Million
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- Investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)