Personal Assets Trust is a broadly diversified multi-asset portfolio which tends to lag strongly rising markets and limit losses in falling markets. The fund has underperformed the FTSE All Share and the Morningstar IT Flexible Investment index over five years, but has been significantly less volatile than the index, with a much lower drawdown.
Whilst it is not an absolute return fund, the trust’s stated aim is to protect and increase (in that order) the value of shareholders’ funds over the long term, and it has rarely lost money in the last ten calendar years, losing just 5.5% in 2008 when the average trust in the sector lost 16.2% and the FTSE All-Share ended down 29.9%.
In the following year the trust, loaded with cash as the crisis unfolded, was in a strong position to take advantage of smashed up asset prices and performance was good; the trust gained 17% in 2009 while the average trust in the AIC Flexible sector gained 11.3%.
The trust is currently running with a high cash balance (25%) and would be well placed were the market correction we have seen recently to escalate into a more sustained and serious de-rating. In the meantime, while we would expect it to continue to underperform the FTSE if the index powers ahead, However, as we saw last week, it should provide a solid backstop against the kind of volatility that could become more of a feature of markets as the warmth of QE and low interest rates dissipates.
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Fund History: Personal Assets Trust
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