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 - 31 July 2020
Global equities consolidated their gains of the previous three months in July, as increased Covid-19 infection rates in the southern United States and Europe tempered hopes for a further normalisation of economic activity, while corporate earnings reports confirmed the difficult trading experienced in many sectors since March. Global equities declined 1% over the month, with Japan (-8%) and the UK (-4%) the laggards, while emerging markets were almost unchanged and the US down only marginally.
Witan’s NAV total return was -1.1% in July, outperforming the benchmark’s total return of -1.4%. The share price total return was -2.9%, as the discount remained under pressure, possibly in reaction to the poor performance in the early months of 2020. In response to the widened discount, Witan bought a further 9.4m shares into Treasury (1.1% of the total) at an average discount of 7.7%. Aside from enhancing the net assets by £1.4m, the activity is expected to contribute to a narrowing of the discount, as market conditions improve and investors turn their attention to more recent performance.
Witan announced its results for the first half of 2020 on August 11th. Although performance was poor overall, with the net asset value total return of -14.7% a long way behind the benchmark’s 2% loss, there was a contrast between the heavy relative and absolute losses in the first quarter and improved relative performance from May onwards. The Company reiterated its willingness to use its revenue reserves to extend its 45 year record of consecutive dividend increases, despite the pressure on portfolio company dividends in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The report contains details of a restructuring of the manager list to reflect both the more global asset allocation adopted from the start of 2020 and the changes engendered by the pandemic. Since the period end, two new global managers have been appointed, WCM Investment Management and Jennison Associates, who are both based in the USA and specialise in faster growth companies. The restructured portfolio is, in the Company’s view, expected to reward existing (and new) investors in Witan, after the recent uncharacteristically weak period of performance, which the Board is determined to reverse.
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.