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Aberdeen New India Investment Trust

Aberdeen New India Update - Overview

Aberdeen New India owns a concentrated portfolio of stocks in India which are selected for the high quality of their financials and corporate governance. The trust draws on the research of a team of Asia-based managers led by Kristy Fong and James Thom with deep knowledge of the market and a differentiated approach developed over many decades of Aberdeen’s presence in the region. Their analysis aims to uncover those companies which can sustainably grow their earnings and which should beat the market over the course of an investment cycle, with the focus on quality and repeatable earnings rather than cyclical winners having led to particularly strong performance in down years. The trust offers exposure to the huge domestic market in India which is growing thanks to favourable demographics, with significant exposures to consumer staples companies and financial services companies which are rolling out services to the growing middle class. The trust has outperformed the market handsomely over the past five years, with NAV total returns of 94.5% compared to the MSCI India’s returns of 70.3%. The vast majority of this is due to stock selection rather than industry allocation; a validation of the bottom-up approach the team takes. In mid-2018 the managers took out a gearing facility which allowed them to take advantage of the cheap valuations in India in the second-half sell-off. They remain modestly geared at 4%, but in line with their cautious approach are unlikely to gear up further unless significant value emerges, such as another market sell-off. The discount is at 12.3%, having come in substantially since Modi won re-election in May. However, it still remains wider than the average emerging markets trust, which trades on a discount of 8.4%. The trust hasn’t paid a dividend since 2005, and is unlikely to do so this year, with the managers focused entirely on capital growth.

  • 20 Aug 19
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Majedie Investments

Majedie Investments Update - Overview

Majedie Investments (MAM) aims to maximise total shareholder return while increasing dividends by more than the rate of inflation over the long term. The portfolio is divided into six funds, all of which are managed by the well-respected boutique fund managers at Majedie Asset Management. MAM was launched in 2002 using finance provided by the investment trust and was led by a team that previously worked at Mercury Asset Management and Merrill Lynch. The strategy was to manage UK equities on behalf of institutional clients, but this has since been broadened to include global equities and an absolute return strategy, and clients now include wealth managers and endowments alongside institutions. The trust has a 17.1% stake in the privately-owned asset management company itself, which as of 31 March 2019 had £11.6bn of assets under management and makes up 27.5% of NAV (as at 30 June 2019). The team at MAM uses a bottom up, fundamental research-based approach and a high emphasis is placed on risk aversion. When considering investments, the various investment teams look to extract the maximum return per unit of risk taken and try to understand how the holding will hold up in different market environments. As an illustration, over the past year the trust has the lowest down capture ratio, at 46.32, in the AIC Global sector, and a standard deviation of 10.86 relative to the sector average of 16.9, when excluding the effects of the holding in MAM. Since the revamp of the trust in 2014, performance has been a tale of two halves. In the two years leading up to the 2016 European Union membership referendum, the trust delivered NAV returns of more than 50%, outperforming the MSCI World Index (49.9%), AIC Global peer group (41.7%) and the IA Global peer group (36.3%). However, the referendum result hit the trust hard, principally due to its large exposure to the UK and the cautiously positioned absolute return fund. Since then, the trust has struggled relative to global peers as investor sentiment towards Britain has soured. Over the past three years, the trust has delivered returns of 23.4% relative to 58.5% from the MSCI World, 69.4% from the AIC peer group and 52.3% from the IA peer group. With this said, the Global underlying funds have performed strongly relative to their respective benchmarks. Alongside capital growth, dividend growth is an important part of the trust’s investment proposition. The board re-set the dividend in 2014 and, since then, shareholders have seen compound progression in excess of 10% p.a. Currently, the trust is yielding 4.7%, comfortably the highest yield in the Global sector, where the weighted average is 1.3%. In fact, it is the second-highest yield of any trust in the AIC Global Equity Income sector. As of the most recent annual report, the trust retains historic revenue reserves of close to £26m. Currently the trust is trading at a discount a little over 16%, considerably wider than the sector weighted average of 0.2%.

  • 12 Aug 19
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Edinburgh Dragon Trust

Edinburgh Dragon Update - Overview

Edinburgh Dragon (EFM) aims to generate long-term capital returns by investing in Asia Pacific ex-Japan equities, with a focus on quality growth characteristics and a secondary focus on starting valuations. The management team, headed by Adrian Lim, aims to select world-class Asian companies with strong balance sheets that are transforming their sector and setting governance standards. The trust’s net asset value of £583m is the second largest in the AIC Asia Pacific peer group and makes it one of only two trusts over £500m. Aberdeen Standard’s 50 fund managers based in the region give it a broad research base and good access to companies. The trust has performed very strongly over the past year following a series of refinements to the process and portfolio. NAV total returns of 12.9% compare to just 7.1% from the average trust in the Morningstar IT Asia Pacific ex-Japan sector and 3.8% from the MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan index. This is the second-best return in the 13-trust sector over the period, narrowly behind its stablemate Aberdeen New Dawn. The refinements to the process have centred on making the team quicker to spot problems in portfolio companies, but the intention is to continue to be long-term in outlook and Morningstar data show a turnover consistent with a five-year holding period. The trust has increased its weighting to technology, however, and narrowed its underweight to China. It maintains strong overweights to India and Indonesia, and a focus on quality characteristics that served it well in the 2018 global sell-off. Despite the improved recent performance, the portfolio continues to trade on a wider discount than the sector average: 10.8% compared to the 6.1% peer group average. A tender offer in January was oversubscribed and the board continues to be active in employing buybacks. Dividends have grown steadily over the past five years, with compound growth of 16%. The dividends are fully covered and reserves are over three times the payout, although the focus is on total returns and so the yield is only 1%

  • 12 Aug 19
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JPMorgan Smaller Cos Inv Trust

JPMorgan Smaller Companies Investment Trust - Overview

JPMorgan Smaller Companies (JMI) aims to give investors access to fast-growing, innovative smaller companies that often have their own structural growth drivers, making them less directly linked to the performance of the overall UK economy. Georgina Brittain has managed this trust for more than 20 years and was joined by Katen Patel six years ago. The team uses a bottom-up stock picking approach to take advantage of the inefficiencies in the small-cap market that offer a diverse range of alpha-generating opportunities. The team uses both quantitative and fundamental analysis to find companies that exhibit quality, momentum and value characteristics, creating a diverse portfolio of 88 holdings. The largest sector overweights come from the media (6.3%), leisure goods (6.2%) and financial services (3.9%) sectors. At the other end of the spectrum, the trust has little exposure to support services (-3.1%), travel and leisure (-2.9%) and pharma and biotech (-2.7%) relative to the benchmark. Returns over the long term have been impressive for the trust, which has outperformed the benchmark in eight of the past ten calendar years. Over a five-year period, the trust has generated NAV total returns of 55.1%, once more beating the benchmark’s return of 29.6%, as well as the AIC and IA peer groups, which returned 51% and 53.3% respectively. More recently, the trust’s performance has been a tale of two halves. The trust was hit particularly hard during the fourth quarter of 2018, losing close to 20% NAV total returns. Since then the trust has bounced back, returning NAV total returns of 19.3%, double the benchmark returns of 9.9% and considerably more than the AIC peer group (12.8%) and the IA peer group (12.1%). Alongside capital appreciation, the trust offers investors a reasonable level of income. Currently the trust yields 2.4% and the dividend has increased by 23.7% over the past five years. Nevertheless, the trust has had a stubborn discount since the European Union membership referendum in 2016 and over the past year the trust has traded, on average, at a discount of a little under 15%. Currently the discount sits at 14%, as at 26 Jul 19.

  • 06 Aug 19
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