BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust
UK Smaller Companies
Rated Fund 2013-2016, 2019-20. Backs well-capitalised companies
This trust was highly commended in the UK Growth category of Money Observer's investment trust awards in 2019 and 2018, and has been a Rated Fund in six of the past eight years.
We retain our conviction despite the retirement of its co-manager Mike Prentis in 2019. He presided over a period of performance that hugely trumped its benchmark, the Numis Smaller Companies plus Aim index. Roland Arnold is now sole manager. He worked with Prentis from 2005 and was manager of its open-ended equivalent, BlackRock Smaller Companies fund, from 2015. He has shown he can deliver in most market conditions, not just when his growth style is in favour, making this a good core option.
Arnold focuses on well-capitalised companies with strong management teams that are good cash generators and on firms where he sees scope for significant share price gains. He says widespread aversion to the UK market, and small and medium-sized companies in particular, continues to create opportunities. The trust has been a key smaller companies fund in IpsoFacto Investor's investment trust portfolio for much of its history. "This trust has an experienced team, a strong performance record and a well-diversified portfolio," says David Liddell, a director at the online investment service. "It is not as cheap as it was, but remains an appealing long-term play on UK recovery." Over the past three years, the trust's shares have traded between a discount of 18% and premium of 3%. They yield 1.9%, paid half-yearly.
Narrative and ratings content all as of January 2020.See all Money Observer rated funds
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Roland Arnold, Director and Portfolio Manager, is a member of the UK Equity team in the Fundamental Equity division of BlackRock's Alpha Strategies Group. Mr Arnold's primary responsibility is managing small and mid cap UK equity portfolios, with a sector emphasis on Technology. Mr Arnold's service with the firm dates back to 2000, including his years with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM), which merged with BlackRock in 2006. Prior to joining MLIM in 2000, Mr Arnold worked at a UK retail bank as a performance and credit analyst. Mr Arnold earned a BA (Hones) in Economics and Management from Leeds University in 1998.
Data provided by Morningstar.
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