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Wealth managers may have struggled to generate alpha in 2014, but rising markets and low inflation meant they were comfortably able to generate positive returns for their clients.

The average balanced portfolio returned 5.02 per cent during the year, and the average growth portfolio 6 per cent, according to the latest survey by WealthX and the Financial Times. Both types of portfolio were well ahead of the FTSE All World index, which gained 3.35 per cent.

Rothschild Wealth Management offered the strongest-performing balanced portfolio of those that disclosed figures: it returned 7.52 per cent to investors during the year, closely followed by Sarasin & Partners, with 7.45 per cent.

In the longer term, though, Canaccord Genuity showed an edge over its rivals, returning 33.52 per cent over the three years to the end of 2014 and 47.52 per cent over five, making it the top performer over both time periods.

Among growth portfolios, McInroy & Wood and Arbuthnot Latham led the pack in 2014, returning 7.3 and 7.2 per cent respectively. McInroy, a 29-year-old Scottish discretionary firm, was the strongest five-year performer, returning 57.3 per cent.

For some wealth managers, 2014 was less than plain sailing. Redmayne & Bentley was the only firm to produce a negative return in its balanced portfolio, which shed 2.52 per cent, though its five-year performance remains among the strongest at 45.13 per cent.

GAM’s growth portfolio was the weakest of those that disclosed performance, returning 2.72 per cent during 2014; over five years, GHC Capital Markets was at the bottom of the growth field, with 32.65 per cent returns.

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