The bi-annual study ranks income funds based on the absolute income, capital growth and volatility over the last five years. Funds are then categorised into White, Grey and Black lists.
Income investors have received a boost from the depreciation of the pound against the dollar, with around 70% of FTSE 100 revenues earned in the currency.
'After sterling fell in the second half of 2016, there was an effective
increase in dividends paid, due to the translation effect, meaning that investors received a little more as a result of overseas earnings being
converted to sterling,' said Sanlam in a statement.
Miton fund was new entrant to the 14-strong White List, with a 2.4% return over the year supported by a 33.5% yield over the last five years.
'Williams and Turner’s fund has produced solid returns on a consistent
basis, despite having a weaker 2016 compared to its own history,' Sanlam said.
'Furthermore, the fund has low volatility compared with peers as well as successfully providing more income than most over the past five years.'
The Schroder Income Maximser fund was the highest climber, jumping 27 places to seventh after an impressive 20% total return last year, coupled with a yield 0f 43.5% over five years, the biggest of the top 14 funds.
'Performance has been very strong in 2016, with the fund ranking first out of our universe, under this metric' and it has maintained its 'high yield, also ranking first out of peers under dividend income provided in the past five years.'
The new entrants on the list replaced Tineke Frikkee's Smith & Williamson UK Equity Income fund and Michael Clarke's Fidelity Moneybuilder Dividend fund, which both fell into the Grey List after 2016 returns of 6.6% and 6.7% respectively.
'Although its volatility remains low, Frikkee’s fund only just misses out on the White List due to posting a somewhat weaker yield than
in the last study and slightly moving down in the performance rankings versus peers,' Sanlam noted.
'Both funds have struggled in terms of recent performance, but it is worth noting that, despite this, the Fidelity Enhanced Income fund
maintains a very high yield and has the lowest volatility over five years versus peers,' Sanlam said.
At the other end of the scale, the Scottish Widows UK Equity Income fund was once again at the bottom of the Black List.
Although performance picked up last year with a 13.2% return, this was not enough to compensate for weakness over the previous four.
'It has seen quite a fall from grace given that it has moved from the White List, to the Grey List and now to the Black List in the last three studies.
'Performance has continued to be disappointing, volatility has increased and the yield has also dropped.'