Top 10 most popular investment trusts – December 2019

Several UK focused investment trusts found themselves newly in the top 10, thanks to the post-election 'Boris Bounce'.

Funds and Investment Trusts January 6, 2020 by Tom Bailey

Scottish Mortgage ended 2019 the most popular investment trust, once again being the month’s most-bought trust in December, according to the latest data from interactive investor (the parent company of Money Observer).

The trust’s one-year performance sits at 28.5%. While such returns are unlikely to elicit many complaints from investors, it puts the trust among the bottom three of the top 10 trusts for one-year returns.

On a three-year basis, however, the trust still boasts an impressive 86.4% return.

The biggest change to the figures in December was the appearance of several UK domestic stock focused investment trusts.

Henderson Smaller Companies, for example, entered the rankings to second place. Meanwhile, BlackRock Smaller Companies, Temple Bar and Mercantile Investment Trust also entered the top 10.

BlackRock Throgmorton also moved up the rankings by two places.

Much of this surge in popularity came following the result of the 12 December general election, which saw the Conservative Party secure a large majority.

UK stocks, and by extension the trust’s that invest in them, had been out of favour among investors, fearful of a no-deal Brexit or a Corbyn-led Labour government. The general election result has, in the view of many investors, put these fears to rest.

Of the top 10, UK-facing trusts saw some of the strongest one-year performance. For example, Henderson Smaller Companies returned 44.5%, BlackRock Throgmorton 60.4% and Mercantile Investment trust 44%.

In the case of Temple Bar, however, the past year’s performance, at 32.4%, accounts for nearly all of its previous three-year performance. Being focused on UK value stocks, Temple Bar has struggled in recent years, despite the strong reputation of its manager, Alistair Mundy.

The surge in popularity of UK focused trusts saw several other trusts move down the list. City of London, for example, move down by one place. Although exposed to UK stocks, the trust is seen as a relatively defensive play, with a portfolio that can hold up in rockier market conditions. The bounce in UK stocks following the election, however, helped the trust see its one-year return move up to 22.4%.

Renewables Infrastructure Group fell by three places. The trust was added to Money Observer’s Rated Fund list for the first time in 2019, replacing Bluefield Solar Income.

Schroder UK Public Private Trust, formerly known as Woodford Patient Capital, fell out of the top 10. The trust had previously seen a resurgence in popularity on the back of the announcement that Schroders would be taking over control of the trust.

Three global trusts, Monks investment trust, Alliance trust and F&C Investment trust, also fell out of the rankings.

Rank Investment trust AIC sector Rank change from October 1-year return (as at 3 December) 3-year return
1 Scottish Mortgage Global no change 28.50% 86.40%
2 Henderson Smaller Companies UK Smaller Companies new entry 44.50% 79.10%
3 Finsbury Growth & Income UK Equity Income -1 22.20% 47.50%
4 City of London investment trust UK Equity Income -1 22.40% 25.60%
5 BlackRock Throgmorton UK Smaller Companies 2 60.40% 109.20%
6 Temple Bar Investment trust UK Equity Income new entry 32.40% 34.80%
7 The Renewables Infrastructure Group Infrastructure -3 29.50% 50.90%
8 Mercantile Investment trust UK All Companies new entry 56.10% 68.70%
9 BlackRock Smaller Companies UK Smaller Companies new entry 44% 90.60%
10 Polar Capital Technology trust Technology & Media -4 42.20% 90.20%


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