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 - December 2020
December was another good month for global equities and for Witan shareholders. This was the seventh consecutive month of outperformance, which contrasts with the marked underperformance suffered during the period of market volatility at the start of the pandemic. In the second half of 2020 our restructured portfolio delivered an NAV total return of 22.2% compared with 11.8% from our benchmark. Although there remains more to do to recover the earlier underperformance in full, the recent trend supports the conclusion that the shortfall during the period of market panic was atypical.
Despite the human and economic costs of the second wave of Covid-19 cases worldwide and the renewed restrictions in place at the end of 2020, investors are looking through to a period when the rising proportion of people who are vaccinated reduces both the spread and the severity of the epidemic. The expectation is that pentup demand in the worst affected sectors, allied to likely government spending programmes to stimulate a recovery from 2020’s deep recession, will see accelerating economic growth during 2021. On the domestic front, UK equities have responded positively to the clarification of the post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU.
In addition, the finalisation of the US Presidential and congressional elections (not without some last-minute controversy and shocking images from Washington DC) allows investors to focus on the policies of President-Elect Biden’s incoming Democrat Administration. While the market was already discounting a significant stimulus, Democrat control of the Senate (confirmed in January) increases its likely size and duration compared with initial expectations. Democrats will remember the lost control of Congress suffered by President Obama at mid-term elections two years after he was first elected, which led to an extended period of political gridlock which hobbled his administration. Consequently, Joe Biden’s fiscal plan (including climate action initiatives) seems likely to prioritise generating a strong recovery in coming years. With the even balance in the Senate and recent Democrat losses of House seats, more controversial aspects such as tax rises and business regulation may struggle to win consensus.
The main risk appears to be equity valuations (which are elevated in some sectors). These are higher than historic averages, although interest rates are also exceptionally low. There are signs that longerdated bond yields are rising, in response to improving hopes for economic growth and, at some point, expectations for longer-term inflation seem set to rise, given the degree of economic stimulus in train. For 2021 at least, official actions seem likely to keep rates low, to stimulate economic recovery, as well as to keep government borrowing costs under control. For now, time remains on the side of the patient and selective investor who is willing to look further afield than purely the sectors which benefited from the surge in online activity in the year of the lockdown.
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.