The 10 most experienced investment trust managers

50% of trusts have been managed by at least one of their current fund managers for 10 years or longer.

Funds and Investment Trusts July 15, 2019 by Tom Bailey

Half of all investment trust have been managed by the same person for 10 years or more, according to research by the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

A total of 94 investment trusts, representing 50% of all trusts that are members of the AIC with a track record of 10 years or more, have had their manager for over a decade. Meanwhile, around 10% (19 trusts in total) have had their manager for more than 20 years.

According to Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director at the AIC, these numbers should comfort investors. She noted: “With markets always unpredictable, it is reassuring for investors that many investment company managers have steered their company through different conditions, experiencing good times and bad.”

In contrast, concerns have been raised about the relatively short tenures of managers of open-ended investment funds. Brodie-Smith suggests that the closed-end nature of investment trusts, meaning fund managers do not have to deal with inflows (new investor money) and outflows (investor withdrawals), could help explain the longevity of management at trusts.

As the table below shows, the longest-serving manager has been Peter Spiller from Capital Gearing, who has served for more than 37 years. The share price of Capital Gearing is now roughly 200 times higher than what it was when Spiller took control in 1982.

The third-longest serving manager was Hugh Young of Aberdeen New Dawn. Young has been at the head of the portfolio since 1989. As well as Aberdeen New Dawn, Young has managed a number of open-ended Asia-focused funds for roughly the same time period. Over the past 20 years, Aberdeen New Dawn has returned investors (as measured to March 2019) 1,311.2%. 

Alistair Whyte and Richard Newbery, both co-managers of Aberforth Smaller Companies, are also on the list. Both have run the trust since December 1990. Over the past 20 years, they have returned investors 928.9%.

Company name AIC sector Manager name Effective Time
Capital Gearing Flexible Investment Peter Spiller 01/01/1982 37 years 5 months
Rights & Issues UK Smaller Companies Simon Knott 01/01/1984 35 years 5 months
Aberdeen New Dawn Asia Pacific Hugh Young 12/05/1989 30 years 1 month
Lowland UK Equity Income James H Henderson 01/01/1990 29 years 5 months
Aberforth Smaller Companies UK Smaller Companies Richard M J Newbery 10/12/1990 28 years 6 months
Aberforth Smaller Companies UK Smaller Companies Alistair J Whyte 10/12/1990 28 years 6 months
City of London UK Equity Income Job Curtis 01/07/1991 27 years 11 months
Mercantile UK All Companies Martin Hudson 01/01/1994 25 years 5 months
Herald Global Smaller Companies Katie Potts 16/02/1994 25 years 4 months
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Global Emerging Markets Austin Forey 01/06/1994 25 years 0 months


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