Are investment trusts a platinum opportunity? As the Queen celebrates 70 years on the throne, these 35 trusts have stood the test of time
- Some trusts have existed since before Queen’s accession to the throne
- They have weathered market turbulence, war and the Great Depression
- Among them are investor favourites Scottish Mortgage and City of London
Investment trusts may have gained in popularity in recent years but they have been around a long time, with some in existence before Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne 70 years ago.
Since the launch of the first trust in 1868, the industry has survived times of market turbulence as well as two World Wars and the Great Depression.
The Association of Investment companies has taken a look at them and their performance over the last 30 years to highlight just how resilient the industry has been.
Platinum investment? Some 35 investment trusts have been around since Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne 70 years ago
Investors looking for a steady income and the ability to invest in alternative assets have piled into trusts.
Data from the AIC shows the industry raised £14.8billion of new money in 2021.
A trust’s structure means managers can take a longer-term view and won’t have to sell holdings to meet redemptions.
It also means they can also invest in illiquid assets like infrastructure, renewables and music royalties, which have all proved popular assets in recent years.
|Launch date||Company||Sector||Share price total return|
10yr % to 31/01/22
|Share price total return |
20yr % to 31/01/22
|Share price total return |
30yr % to 31/01/22
|Total assets £m to 31/01/22|
|19 Mar 1868||F&C Investment Trust||Global||258.36||484.29||1,631.9||5,546.4|
|14 Nov 1868||Investment Company||Flexible Investment||115.51||145.32||1,870.61||16.67|
|01 Feb 1873||Dunedin Income Growth||UK Equity Income||139.3||275.28||989.61||506.97|
|31 Mar 1873||Scottish American||Global Equity Income||235.03||473.88||1,145.51||979.6|
|18 Jun 1881||JPMorgan American||North America||363.31||510.76||2,581.32||1,561.47|
|08 Dec 1884||Mercantile||UK All Companies||247.04||704.26||2,537.64||2,541.76|
|21 Apr 1887||JPMorgan Global Growth & Income||Global Equity Income||294.46||594.83||2,014.65||769.33|
|16 Dec 1887||Henderson Smaller Companies||UK Smaller Companies||407.19||828.65||1,253.67||1,034.96|
|13 Apr 1888||Bankers||Global||273.9||552.7||1,966.1||1,668.69|
|21 Apr 1888||Alliance Trust||Global||244.98||443.88||1,396.9||3,628.9|
|15 Feb 1889||BMO Global Smaller Companies||Global Smaller Companies||216.27||917.92||2,414.52||1,027.79|
|16 Feb 1889||Merchants||UK Equity Income||169.1||332.51||1,203.13||832.02|
|01 Mar 1889||Edinburgh Investment||UK Equity Income||103.94||278.45||789.91||1,319.04|
|01 July 1889||AVI Global||Global||189.36||676.53||3,090.51||1,252.76|
|12 Dec 1889||Law Debenture Corporation||UK Equity Income||234.53||586.5||2,250.2||1,176.05|
|01 Jan 1891||City of London||UK Equity Income||119.2||323.16||1,142.2||1,955.47|
|05 Jan 1898||Aberdeen Diversified Income & Growth||Flexible Investment||40.59||101.19||428.29||395.3|
|05 May 1905||TR Property||Property Securities||343.79||1,431.39||4,933.26||1,890.48|
|02 May 1906||BlackRock Smaller Companies||UK Smaller Companies||375.91||1,425.4||3,442.7||1,072.96|
|24 Jan 1907||Baillie Gifford China Growth||China / Greater China||113.52||370.63||454.61||225.81|
|18 Dec 1907||Murray International||Global Equity Income||93.57||573.96||1,488.72||1,768.85|
|17 Feb 1909||Witan||Global||255.37||405.14||1,427.19||2,125.92|
|17 Mar 1909||Scottish Mortgage||Global||800.11||1,996.68||5,985.41||17,775.6|
|01 Jan 1912||Hansa Investment Company (A share)||Flexible Investment||42.28||356.36||2,062.39||369.09|
|01 Jan 1912||Hansa Investment Company (Ord)||Flexible Investment||48.44||345.45||1,954.37||369.09|
|07 Jun 1923||Murray Income||UK Equity Income||115.77||318.87||1,133.68||1,213.74|
|15 Jan 1926||Finsbury Growth & Income||UK Equity Income||219.86||750.96||2,318.77||2,056.20|
|24 Jun 1926||Temple Bar||UK Equity Income||100.45||350.95||1,591.46||908.22|
|01 Jan 1927||Brunner||Global||259.3||422.3||1,372.28||527.32|
|02 Aug 1927||JPMorgan Japanese||Japan||274.98||291.13||323.47||1,026.75|
|06 Feb 1929||Monks||Global||282.36||612.47||2,163.12||3,000.98|
|15 Mar 1929||JPMorgan European Growth||Europe||217.44||386.92||1,377.47||325.89|
|31 Mar 1929||Shires Income||UK Equity Income||145.07||201.28||698.4||105.05|
|15 Jan 1930||Canadian General Investments||North America||257.26||923.56||4,612.11||1,344.61|
|30 May 1930||Henderson Far East Income||Asia Pacific Equity Income||85.98||571.29||1,637.03||456.13|
|01 January 1947||Henderson European Focus||Europe||273.03||604.51||3,172.89||363.83|
|Source: AIC (as of 31 January 2022)|
Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director of the AIC, says: ‘Investment companies have pioneered investing in a wide range of assets including emerging markets, renewable energy infrastructure and unquoted companies.
‘They also have unique income advantages and the benefit of an independent board of directors to look after shareholders’ interests, qualities that stand them in good stead for the future.’
As the UK prepares to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this weekend, AIC figures demonstrate 35 investment companies have delivered returns to shareholders for 70 years.
‘Fads, fashions and arcane financial schemes have come and gone over the past 70 years and more – everything from precipice bonds to sub-prime mortgages to the bursting of the internet bubble 20 years ago,’ said John Newlands, founder of Newlands Fund Research and investment trust historian.
‘Investment companies have long been founded on stronger, indeed granite-like foundations, their robustness tracing to the geniuses who devised and launched them almost 150 years ago, including the legal giants Philip Rose and Lord Westbury and, north of the Scottish border, Robert Fleming, son of an impoverished mill worker in Dundee.’
F&C Investment Trust and Investment Company are the oldest trusts, both launching in 1868.
F&C, led by Paul Niven, has a strong weighting towards North America equities and its largest holdings include tech giants Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Tesla.
It has suffered in recent months as investors move away from growth stocks in the face of rising interest rates. However, it has delivered a 258.36 per cent return in the past 10 years, and 1,631 per cent return over 30 years.
Scottish Mortgage, which launched in 1909, has faced similar issues in recent months and has returned -13.9 per cent over the past year.
But it has become a firm favourite for growth investors. The trust has delivered an 800.11 per cent return over the last decade and nearly 6,000 per cent in 30 years – the strongest performance of any trust on the list since 1992.
Another investor favourite over the years has been the City of London investment trust, which launched in 1891.
While its returns are not as impressive as growth-focused trusts – it has returned 119.2 per cent and 1,142 per cent over 10 years and 30 years respectively – it has performed well over the past year.
Led by David Smith and Job Curtis, its focus on the UK stock market means it has returned 20.8 per cent over the past year and 19.6 per cent over three years.
It also has the added attraction of recognising the importance of dividend income to its shareholders and has consistently paid out dividends for 55 consecutive years.
Newlands said: ‘Private investors, whether wealthy or of ‘moderate means’ should look no further than the most platinum investment opportunity of them all, namely the opportunity to place their savings in a spread of quality investment companies.’