Witan Investment Trust

Global Growth

Rated Fund 2013-20. Makes good use of external managers  

Created as a family trust to manage the Henderson family estate in 1909, and a longstanding fixture of our Rated Funds, Witan continues to be a good core holding for lower risk investors.

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. Since the arrival of chief executive Andrew Bell in 2010, the trust has become actively managed and its performance has improved significantly. Bell decides the asset allocation, chooses external managers running different geographical portfolios – 10 of them at the end of 2019 – and runs a directly invested portfolio accounting for 12% of the trust’s £2.2 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 0.83%. Although its yield is relatively modest at 2.3%, it has clocked up 45 consecutive years of annual dividend increases. At the start of 2020, the trust changed its benchmark to 15% UK (FTSE All-Share) and 85% global (FTSE All-World). While Morningstar regards the overall investment resource as remaining “very solid”, it downgraded Witan from silver to bronze in 2019 due to its greater coverage of other funds in the sector, meaning its investment process no longer stands out. 

Narrative and ratings content all as of January 2020.

See all Money Observer rated funds
Name
Witan Investment Trust
Manager
Witan Investment Services Limited
Type
Closed Ended Investment Company
ISIN
GB00BJTRSD38
Sector
Global
Launched
17/02/1909
OCF
0.83 %
Risk Rating
5
3 Year Sharpe
0.03
3 Year Alpha
-8.65
Yield
2.8 %
Benchmark
FTSE Emerging TR GBP
Fund Size
£ 1.59 billion
NAV
197
Gearing
111
Discount Premium
-6
To achieve an investment total return exceeding that of the Company’s benchmark over the long term, together with growth in the dividend ahead of inflation. The Company’s strategy is to add value by investing primarily in listed individual companies across a broad spread of global equity markets. It typically uses between 8 and 12 investment managers. The blend of different active approaches and styles aims to deliver added value for shareholders while smoothing out the volatility normally associated with a single manager.
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Region %
United Kingdom 29.65 %
United States 29.42 %
Eurozone 14.50 %
Asia - Emerging 6.96 %
Japan 6.59 %
Asia - Developed 5.13 %
Sector %
Consumer Defensive 15.37 %
Industrials 15.03 %
Financial Services 13.73 %
Communication Services 12.97 %
Technology 10.57 %
Healthcare 10.34 %
Consumer Cyclical 8.42 %
Basic materials 6.77 %
Name
Witan Investment Services Limited
Address
SW1H 9AA, London, United Kingdom
UCITS
No
Legal Structure
Closed Ended Investment Company

Managers

James Hart
Joined 04/01/2015
Andrew Bell
Joined 02/01/2010

Data provided by Morningstar.

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