Alliance Trust (ATST) is one of the UK’s oldest and largest investment trusts and has delivered a growing dividend to shareholders every year over the last 52 years.
In 2017, the trust changed its spots dramatically, adopting an innovative portfolio management approach that uses eight managers, each tasked with managing a bespoke highly-concentrated portfolio, selected and overseen by Willis Towers Watson (WTW). WTW chooses a line-up of stock pickers that has similar characteristics to the MSCI ACWI benchmark, in terms of style, country and sector exposures, to ensure that performance is primarily driven by stock selection in the long run. As such, and with net assets of c.£2.7bn, ATST is a truly ‘global’ trust.
Having had nearly two years in the new form, the equity portfolio has generated a decent return during what could be considered a difficult global market for active stock selection. The equity portfolio has risen by 10.4% since the start of April 2017 to January 2019, outperforming the MSCI ACWI index by almost 1.6%. Relative performance was somewhat hindered over 2018, as we saw a much smaller than usual number of (large cap) companies outperform the index during the first nine months of the year and a strong, broad-based market correction in the final quarter.
ATST’s discount narrowed significantly on the announcement of the change in strategy in January 2017 and the board continues to manage the discount where necessary. Over 2018 the trust traded on an average discount of 6% and this has since come in to the current discount of 4.9%.Read the full article