Baillie Gifford Japan Trust PLC

Japanese Equities

Rated Fund 2015-19. Run by renowned Japanese equities team

Baillie Gifford Japan won Money Observer’s Best Japan Trust award in 2015 and was highly commended in 2016 and 2017. The investment trust had a significant change of management in 2018 when Sarah Whitley, who had been involved in its running since 1991, retired.

She had led the trust during a period in which the country struggled with the collapse of a property bubble and enduring deflation and delivered a long-term performance that is streets ahead of rivals and Japan’s Topix stock market index.

On the basis that Whitley has successfully mentored new talent within her team over the years, we retain our conviction in this trust. Matthew Brett, her deputy on the trust, became its lead manager, with Praveen Kumar, manager of the smaller company Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon trust, supporting him as the second manager.

The trust invests in 40 to 70 companies, predominantly medium and smaller-sized, and holdings are purchased on a three to five-year time horizon. The team is based in Edinburgh but visits the country regularly and conducts around 500 company meetings a year.

The managers’ confidence in the Japanese stock market at the end of 2018 was highlighted in the trust being 12% geared.

In Baillie Gifford Japan, investors can get access to Baillie Gifford’s Japan equities desk, recognised as one of the best in the business. However, shares in the trust have traded at a premium to net asset value for most of the last two years. This approached 10% in 2018, but the board can issue shares to control this and the shares also traded close to par at times, so investors should time their entry carefully.

Narrative and ratings content all as of 01 January 2019.

See all Money Observer rated funds
Baillie Gifford Japan Trust PLC
Baillie Gifford & Co Limited.
Closed Ended Investment Company
0.7 %
Risk Rating
3 Year Sharpe
3 Year Alpha
0.1 %
Fund Size
£ 750.49 million
Discount Premium
The Baillie Gifford Japan Trust PLC aims to achieve long term capital growth principally through investment in medium to smaller sized Japanese companies which are believed to have above average prospects for growth.
Holding %
SoftBank Group Corp 6.04 %
Rakuten Inc 3.66 %
SBI Holdings Inc 2.78 %
M3 Inc 2.58 %
Kubota Corp 2.47 %
Sony Corp 2.40 %
GMO internet Inc 2.40 %
CyberAgent Inc 2.39 %
Fanuc Corp 2.28 %
YASKAWA Electric Corp 2.24 %
Region %
Japan 100.00 %
Sector %
Technology 28.80 %
Industrials 21.58 %
Consumer Cyclical 16.17 %
Communication Services 8.85 %
Financial Services 8.23 %
Healthcare 5.55 %
Baillie Gifford & Co Limited.
EH1 3AN, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Legal Structure
Closed Ended Investment Company


Matthew Brett
Joined 04/30/2018

Matthew graduated BA (Hons) in Natural Sciences (Psychology) from the University of Cambridge in 2003 and holds a PhD in Psychology from Bristol University. He joined Baillie Gifford in 2003 and is an Investment Manager in the Japanese Equity Team. Matthew is a co-manager of the Japanese All cap strategy and is a CFA Charterholder.

Praveen Kumar
Joined 04/30/2018

Praveen Kumar joined Baillie Gifford in 2008 and became an investment manager on the Japanese Equities team in 2011. He graduated BEng in Computer Science from Bangalore University in 2001, and has an MBA in Finance from Cambridge University in 2008. He previously worked for FKI Logistex before joining Baillie Gifford in 2008.

Data provided by Morningstar.

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