Witan Investment Trust
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
|Syncona Ord||2.53 %|
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|Charter Communications Inc A||1.52 %|
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Data provided by Morningstar.
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