Baillie Gifford Japan Trust PLC

Japanese Equities

Rated Fund 2015-20. 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, 2017 and 2019, despite a rare bout of underperformance.

This, we feel, is best attributed to stock- specific factors, as opposed to the trust’s recent change in lead manager. Conglomerate SoftBank, the trust’s largest holding, has been stung by the failed float of WeWork, one of its largest investments, and its hefty stake in Uber, which has tanked since its initial primary offering in May.  The trust’s 11% gearing has exacerbated its dip in performance.

Matthew Brett was promoted from deputy to lead manager in 2018. Praveen Kumar, manager of the smaller-company Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon trust, has supported him as deputy since Sarah Whitley retired. She had been involved in the running of the trust since 1991, but Baillie Gifford employs a team-based approach, and we recognise that Whitley had successfully mentored new talent in her team over the years.

In Baillie Gifford Japan, investors can get access to Baillie Gifford’s Japan equities desk, which is widely recognised as one of the best in the business. Its focus is on bottom-up analysis and identifying under-appreciated long-term growth.

The trust invests in 40 to 70 companies, predominantly medium and smaller-sized. Holdings are purchased on a three- to five-year time horizon. The team is based in Edinburgh but visits Japan regularly, and it conducts around 500 company meetings a year. Shares in the trust have traded at a premium to net asset value for most of the past three years, but could be picked up at a small single-digit discount near the end of 2019.

Narrative and ratings content all as of 01 January 2020.

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Baillie Gifford Japan Trust PLC
Baillie Gifford & Co Limited.
Closed Ended Investment Company
0.7 %
Risk Rating
3 Year Sharpe
3 Year Alpha
0.4 %
Fund Size
£ 701.51 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 5.10 %
Rakuten Inc 3.17 %
GMO internet Inc 2.87 %
COLOPL Inc 2.87 %
M3 Inc 2.82 %
SBI Holdings Inc 2.63 %
Sony Corp 2.43 %
Kubota Corp 2.42 %
Inpex Corp 2.31 %
Fanuc Corp 2.29 %
Region %
Japan 100.00 %
Sector %
Industrials 27.64 %
Technology 16.45 %
Communication Services 16.07 %
Consumer Cyclical 14.78 %
Financial Services 8.45 %
Healthcare 7.24 %
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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