F&C Investment Trust (FCIT) is the world’s oldest investment trust. The 150-year-old behemoth is on course for its 48th consecutive year of dividend increases having paid a dividend every year since launch. Income is not the main focus for the manager, however, and it is positioned to deliver long-term growth in capital via an internationally-diversified portfolio.
The portfolio is constructed with inputs from both BMO’s specialist teams and third-party managers and this includes investments in both listed and unlisted securities. The manager, Paul Niven, believes this combination of public and private companies is a key feature of the trust, which help reduce risk and limit the volatility of investment returns. The trust is well diversified across geographies and sectors and the board has not placed any specific geographic or industry sector exposure limits for the publicly listed equities. The largest geographical weighting is to North America (53.3%), followed by Europe ex UK (17.1%) and emerging markets (11%). In terms of listed equity sector exposure, financials make up close to a quarter of the exposure and consumer services (18.2%) and technology (18.1%) also make up considerable portions of the portfolio.
Since taking over the trust in 2014, Paul has delivered decent NAV returns, outperforming the benchmark FTSE All World (69.4%) by c.6% and the IA Global sector (55.1%). That said, the trust has underperformed the Morningstar Global closed end peer group by 3%.
Over the past two years the trust has seen the discount narrow considerably, to a point where the trust is currently trading on a slight premium (0.2%). Since the start of the year the discount/ premium has ranged between -5.7% and 1.4% and the one-year average has been -1.6%, marginally narrower than the sector average of -2.5%.
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