Top 10 most popular investment trusts – April 2017

Two new entries – both global trusts – made their appearance this month in the table of investment trusts bought most by clients of our sister company, broker Interactive Investor.

Bankers investment trust, from the Henderson stable, has risen to 10th place, producing the best one-month returns across the top 10 trusts. Meanwhile Murray International, run by Aberdeen’s respected value investor Bruce Stout, takes ninth place despite trading on a premium.

Both are long-established broad global trusts that have not only produced highly competitive returns over recent months but also have a focus on year-on-year dividend growth.

Indeed, Bankers is one of the three trusts with a 50 year record of dividend increases.

 Murray International, a ‘next generation dividend hero’, has chalked up 12 consecutive years of dividend growth. 

Those two trusts take the place of Monks, another global generalist that rose briefly to 10th place having found a new lease of life under the leadership of Charles Plowden, and HICL Infrastructure, winner of the 2017 Money Observer award for best infrastructure trust.

The latter enjoyed a dramatic but brief period as the second most popular trust on the Interactive Investor website, having been tipped as a good bet for income and growth in 2017 on the back of president Donald Trump’s plans to boost infrastructure spending.

But HICL’s share price premium to net asset value has widened to more than 13 per cent, up from 10 per cent at the start of February, while the reality of Trump’s big spending plans is increasingly being questioned as the months roll by.

Elsewhere there’s little movement, with the table dominated by large, reliable, mainstream trust choices from the global and UK sectors and including a large contingent of Money Observer’s 2017 investment trust award winners.

Scottish Mortgage, which won Best Global Growth trust, remains at the top of the table, and continues to return unassailable share price growth; James Anderson’s technology-slanted global trust has more than doubled in share price terms over three years, and is up more than 11 per cent over the past three months, helped, no doubt, by its recent elevation to the FTSE 100 index.

Global behemoths Witan and Foreign & Colonial occupy second and seventh slots, having gained one and two places respectively since March. Foreign & Colonial was awarded highly commended in the Global Growth award category [LINK], and has produced the second highest three-year share price returns of the top ten trusts, up more than 60 per cent, though recent performance has been somewhat lacklustre.

The middle ranks of the top 10 are dominated by UK-focused trusts, which have held or improved their positions despite the growing uncertainties associated with Brexit. 

Henderson’s City of London investment trust, the grande dame of dividend growth with a 50-year record under its belt, has moved a couple of slots up to third place, with Woodford Patient Capital trust unchanged at fourth place and Finsbury Growth & Income, winner of the Money Observer Best UK Income award, up one place in fifth.

It’s perhaps surprising to see that the Woodford trust has retained its place, given the 13 per cent slump in its share price since launch two years ago. But manager Neil Woodford has been at pains to stress that ‘the investment strategy was never designed to deliver significant short-term wins’.

Caution remains a buzzword among Interactive Investor’s clients, with RIT Capital Partners, winner of the Money Observer 2017 Best Mixed Asset trust [LINK], moving up one place to sixth slot. Its popularity is probably understandable, given that in spite of its defensive orientation RIT has pulled off three year returns of more than 50 per cent.

Finally, BlackRock World Mining, perhaps surprisingly, retains the eighth slot. The trust has significantly benefited from the recovery in commodity prices in 2016 and the weakening of sterling following the EU referendum, as it focuses predominantly on large cap UK miners that generate earnings in dollars.

But the faltering commodity recovery means it has had a challenging month, with the share price losing 3.5 per cent; this might arguably be a good opportunity to take profits according to one expert.

View the full table of most popular trusts below.

RankTrustAIC sectorChange since March1mth SP total return to 3 May (%)3yr SP total return to 3 May (%)
1Scottish MortgageGlobal-3.63104.8
3City of LondonUK equity income+22.3825.21
4Woodford Patient CapitalUK all companies-1.54-
5Finsbury Growth & IncomeUK equity income+12.6549.07
6RIT Capital PartnersFlexible investment+10.9751.24
7Foreign & Colonial TrustGlobal+20.2762.49
8BlackRock World MiningCommods--3.54-13
9Murray InternationalGlobal equity incomeNew entry3.0935.99
10Bankers Investment TrustGlobalNew entry5.8749.68


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