Is to achieve significant growth in our investors’ wealth by investing in global equity markets, using a multi-manager approach.
Is to achieve an investment total return exceeding that of the Company’s benchmark over the long term, together with growth in the dividend ahead of inflation.
We aim to select exceptional third party managers who are expected to outperform their assigned benchmarks. Most of the managers are not open for investment by UK individuals, or not on the same terms. They manage approximately 90% of Witan’s assets. The remaining assets are invested directly by Witan’s Executive team, which is also responsible for the management of gearing, under delegated guidelines from the Board.
Relative numbers may not add up due to rounding.
† Source: Morningstar / Witan, total return includes the notional reinvestment of dividends. ‡ The Net Asset Value figures value debt at fair value and include the notional reinvestment of dividends. # Witan’s benchmark is a composite of 85% Global and 15% UK. From 01.01.2017 to 31.12.2019 the benchmark was 30% UK, 25% North America, 20% Asia Pacific, 20% Europe (ex UK), 5% Emerging Markets. From 01.10.2007 to 31.12.2016 the benchmark was 40% UK, 20% North America, 20% Europe (ex UK) and 20% Asia Pacific. With effect from August 2020, the source for benchmark index performance data will be MSCI International, replacing the previous FTSE source.
*Please remember, past performance is not a guide to future performance, and the value of shares and the income from them can rise and fall, so investors may not get back the amount originally invested.
Monthly Commentary - November 2020
It is the sixth consecutive month of outperformance, further advancing the recovery from the exceptional underperformance suffered at the start of the pandemic. Despite this evident recovery in fortunes, along with other investment trusts the discount to NAV widened to 7.8%, so although the share price total return of 9.8% in November was also ahead of the benchmark’s, it lagged the sharp rise in the NAV.
Global equity markets enjoyed a near record month in November with the MSCI All Country World Index rising 8.8% in Sterling terms. Optimism was widespread as three pharmaceutical partnerships released encouraging Covid-19 vaccine data, with the UK becoming the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use in early December. Whilst politicians argue that it may be too early to lift ‘lockdown’ restrictions, these vaccines increase the likelihood of a return to normality in 2021. The prospect of an economic reopening was particularly advantageous for cyclical assets, with the UK market receiving a further ‘shot in the arm’ as Brexit negotiations appeared to make progress as they came down to the (fishing) wire. The UK (+12.7%) and European (+13.7%) markets, where Witan’s managers have an overweight position, were the best performing of the world’s major indices. Asian (+6.8%) and US (+7.5%) markets lagged as the “Covid winners”, especially technology and internet stocks, paused for breath.
There are currently many tectonic shifts at work in the world economy either due to, or catalysed by, the 2020 pandemic. Nowhere is it more obvious than in the British high-street as Arcadia, Debenhams and a host of smaller operators joined the numerous restaurant failures so far this year. Many of these entities were struggling before Covid-19 forcibly shut down normal operations for much of the year. At Witan, as part of our ongoing management and ESG oversight, we aim to ensure that we and our managers understand the inherent risks in our equity portfolio. Therefore, whilst it is clear from performance in the first quarter of 2020 that the unexpected can always upset the best laid plans of mice and men, the vast majority of our portfolio is invested in high-quality and well financed companies which are well placed to benefit from a return to economic normality. We are therefore confident, although not complacent, that our portfolio, with a combination of companies with enduring cash-flows, those with underestimated growth prospects and some businesses overdue a cyclical recovery will reward shareholders as we enter more normal (and potentially buoyant) economic conditions in 2021.
How to invest
Witan’s shares can be traded through any UK stockbroker and most share dealing services, including online platforms that
offer investment trusts.
A growing number of platforms offer investment trusts directly to retail investors.
Advisers who wish to purchase Witan shares for their clients can do so via a stockbroker or via a growing number of dedicated platforms.
This marketing communication is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as constituting an offer or a solicitation to buy or sell interests or investments in Witan Investment Trust plc. Any reference to individual securities does not constitute a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold the investment.
Please remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance. Witan Investment Trust is an equity investment. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of currency and market fluctuations and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Investment trusts can borrow money to make additional investments on top of shareholders’ funds (gearing). If the value of these investments falls gearing will magnify the negative impact on performance. If an investment trust incorporates a large amount of gearing the value of its shares may be subject to sudden and large falls in value and you could get back nothing at all. The share price may trade above and below the NAV per share representing either a premium or discount to the share price respectively.
This marketing communication is issued and approved by Witan Investment Services Limited. Witan Investment Services Limited is registered in England no. 5272533 of 14 Queen Anne’s Gate, London, SW1H 9AA. Witan Investment Services Limited provides investment products and services and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Calls may be recorded for our mutual protection and to improve customer service.