Factsheet: Witan Ord
Rated Fund 2013-2018. Makes good use of external managers
Since the arrival of chief executive Andrew Bell in 2010, Witan's performance has improved significantly. Most of its portfolio is managed by external fund managers. When it first adopted this approach in 2004, there was a heavy allocation to index-tracking funds, which resulted in mediocre performance. Under Bell, the trust has become actively managed.
Bell decides the asset allocation, chooses external managers running different geographical portfolios 10 of them at the end of 2017 and runs a directly invested portfolio accounting for 10 per cent of its 2.1 billion assets.
The blend of different active approaches and styles aims to improve returns and smooth out the volatility normally associated with a single manager. Such an approach has traditionally increased the cost of investing, but Witan's scale means its ongoing charges are a reasonable 0.65 per cent.
Although its yield is relatively modest at just shy of 2 per cent, it has also clocked up 43 consecutive years of annual dividend increases.
Founded in 1909, Witan has played an important role in the history of the investment trust industry. Having originally been created as a family trust to manage the Henderson family estate, Witan sponsored the setting up of the investment group Henderson in 1932 to manage its investments. The trust became self-managed in 2004, but there is still a member of the Henderson family on the board current chairman Harry Henderson.
Its shares typically trade at a small discount to net asset value, 2 per cent at the end of 2017. Over the past three years, their widest discount was 9 per cent and the largest premium was 2 per cent.
Narrative and ratings content all as of 01 January 2018.See all Money Observer rated funds
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Data provided by Morningstar.
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