How we invest

An ‘alliance of best ideas’ is how we describe the investment approach that drives Alliance Trust’s unique portfolio of global equities.

An alliance of best ideas

Alliance Trust offers you the opportunity to invest with eight best-in-class* global equity managers. Each of them is a specialist and most are not otherwise available to individual UK investors. They are each responsible for creating a portfolio of ‘high-conviction’ equities that they believe is most likely to deliver outperformance over time. They only invest in their very best ideas. Between them, they cover a range of value, growth or quality stockpicking styles.

The portfolio is managed by our Investment Manager, Willis Towers Watson**, which balances risk at stock, sector and geographical level. Through them, we employ multiple managers, reducing the risk that is often taken by investors selecting a single, star manager or one particular style that can move in and out of favour. We believe this approach of using several complementary, high-conviction managers increases the chances of outperformance. You can read more about this approach in the presentation given by Willis Towers Watson at our Edinburgh Investor Forum.

Restricting equity managers is often counter-productive, so our managers are given mandates with as few constraints as possible. They are free to create equity portfolios of approximately 20 stocks, from wherever in the world they choose.

This approach is complemented with an equity manager responsible for an emerging markets portfolio containing more than 20 stocks. Together, this creates a unique ‘alliance of best ideas’ – of about 200 listed stocks.

World-class expertise, low cost

You might expect that the cost of accessing equity managers of calibre is in line with their track record. But, for us, controlling investment cost is as important as returns generated, so we have used Willis Towers Watson’s access to the global fund management sector together with our combined scale to negotiate highly attractive fee levels.

The cost of accessing Alliance Trust’s world-class equity managers is targeted to be less than 0.65% pa, that is the total ongoing charge, making it one of the UK’s most competitively priced global equity Investment Trusts.

* As rated by Willis Towers Watson.

** The Alliance Trust Board has appointed Towers Watson Investment Management (Ireland) Limited (TWIMI) as its Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM). TWIMI has delegated the investment management of the Alliance Trust portfolio to its specialist division, Towers Watson Investment Management Limited (TWIM). TWIMI and TWIM are both part of Willis Towers Watson (WTW). On this website we refer to both TWIMI and TWIM as Willis Towers Watson or ‘WTW’.

Our investment goals - in a nutshell

At Alliance Trust, our focus is straightforward. We aim to deliver real returns for our investors over the medium to long term, through a combination of capital growth and a rising dividend.

Our stated investment goals are:

  • Capital growth
    Our equity portfolio’s investment target is to outperform the MSCI All Country World Index by a minimum of 2% pa (net of costs) over rolling three-year periods.

  • A progressive dividend policy
    Alliance Trust’s dividend performance is one of the most consistent among Investment Trusts, with continuous growth for over 50 years. This rare achievement has been recognised by the Association of Investment Companies, which has awarded us ‘Dividend Hero’ status.

By consistently delivering performance and value, we aim to become a core holding for all investors who want to grow the value of their investments over the medium to long term.

Details of our formal investment objective can be found here.

A unique investment opportunity

We have appointed leading global investment firm Willis Towers Watson (WTW)* to manage our investment portfolio. WTW brings a long history of investment innovation which marries well with Alliance Trust’s pioneering heritage. WTW has over $87bn of assets under management and its clients are some of the largest and most sophisticated investors in the world.

Importantly, WTW also brings a track record of advising and managing similar global equity portfolios which have outperformed over time**. More on WTW’s management credentials can be found in our Investor Forum presentation

* The entities within the Willis Towers Watson group responsible for the management of the Alliance Trust investment portfolio are Towers Watson Investment Management (Ireland) Limited (TWIMI) as the Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) and Towers Watson Investment Management Limited (TWIM) as the investment manager and a delegate of the AIFM.

** Since inception (17 August 2015) for the Towers Watson Global Equity Focus Fund managed by WTW and since 1 April 2012 for the charitable foundation client advised by WTW. Further detail can be found in the June 22 2017 investor presentation. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

 

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