The median Australian shares manager returned a bumper 26.4 per cent in the year to August, according to Mercer.
But there were better gains to be had investing overseas: the median overseas shares manager got a return of 37.3 per cent over the same period. The results in the August Mercer sector surveys exclude tax and management fees.
But they suggest that over three and five years, the median Australian shares manager outperformed the local index by a touch over 1 per cent.
For international shares, the returns were higher but the gap with the index was narrower, at 0.4 per cent over three- and five-year periods.
Over a three-year period, the MSCI World ex-Australia Index returned 13.4 per cent - a better result than the 9.8 per cent returned by the S&P/ASX 300 index.
But over a five-year period, the local bourse ruled, returning 4.5 per cent versus 3.4 per cent overseas.
For long only Australian shares funds, Bennelong Concentrated Australian Equities posted the biggest return, of 41.2 per cent, over the year to August.
Next was Lazard Select Australian Equity, at 39.2 per cent. Hyperion Australian Growth was third-strongest, with 37.3 per cent.
The best long short Australian shares fund was Perpetual Wholesale SHARE-PLUS, which made an annual return of 35.7 per cent. The best long only fund for overseas shares was Harris Associates' Global Concentrated, which returned 65.8 per cent for the year.