- Founded in 1868 – the first ever investment trust
- A diversified portfolio provides exposure to most of the world's stock markets
- Invests in more than 490 listed companies in 29 countries
Fund manager commentary
Stock markets have had a very strong first quarter much to everyone’s surprise. Despite the uncertainties about the US fiscal position, the Italian election and Cyprus, investors decided the outlook was not that bad and there were shifts into equities from cash and bonds.
The standout performer has been Japan where a new government seems determined to try to break out of the deflationary torpor that the economy has been in for the last two decades. The other striking feature has been the weakness of sterling as there is less confidence in UK economic growth and government policy.
We reduced our UK weighting and our exposure to sterling by about a third in January and we have less invested in the UK than at any time in the past thirty years. We are also benefiting from an acceleration in positive cash flows from our maturing private equity portfolio which we expect to continue. Since we increased our gearing to a ten year high in September 2011 most markets are up more than a quarter so we are now more cautious and gearing is closer to the mid point of our 0-20% range.
As at 31 March 2013
The yield is calculated on an historic basis using the actual dividends paid during the company's last financial year and the closing share price as at the end of the relevant month.
The value of shares and the income from them is not guaranteed and can fall as well as rise due to stock market movements. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. When you sell your shares, you might get back less than you originally invested. If markets fall, gearing can magnify the negative impact on performance. Changes in rates of exchange may have an adverse effect on the value, price or income of investments. Emerging Markets, Unquoted Companies and Smaller companies carry a higher degree of risk and their value can be more sensitive to market movement; their shares may be less liquid and performance may be more volatile. The fund may invest in hedge funds or private equity funds which are not normally available to individual investors, exposing the fund to the performance, liquidity and valuation issues of these funds. Such funds typically have high minimum investment levels and may restrict or suspend redemptions or repayment to investors. The asset value of these shares and its prospects may be more difficult to assess.