BMO Managed Portfolio Trust has two distinct share classes: Growth (BMPG) and Income shares (BMPI) each with discrete investment portfolios. Manager Peter Hewitt uses his many years of experience in the market to pick a portfolio of investment companies to suit each objective. Income earned from the growth portfolio can be used to boost the dividend paid to the Income shareholders, which yield 4.6% on an historic basis. This transfer mechanism is discussed under Dividend.
BMPG and BMPI are both managed by Peter Hewitt. Peter seeks to identify investment companies where he believes there are strong management processes and identifiable and distinct strategies that lend themselves to long-term outperformance. As discussed under Portfolio, in recent years this has included significant exposure to companies focussed on ‘secular growth’ opportunities, even in the Income portfolio. The manager looks to diversify across investment styles and asset classes within both portfolios, including incorporating protective strategies designed to preserve or even grow capital in market downturns.
As discussed under Performance, the tilt towards growth strategies has proven highly beneficial over recent years and especially the past 12 months, and both share classes have outperformed their benchmark. Protective strategies also proved their worth in the Q1 2020 drawdown, whilst the market sell-off gave Peter the opportunity to build positions with high entry yields in companies where he believed income streams to be resilient.
Resilience of underlying income and support from the transfer mechanism has ensured that BMPI’s dividend has remained covered this year, as discussed under Dividend. Shareholders are further able to convert shares in either share class to the other once a year without incurring UK capital-gains tax, stamp duty, or dealing charges or ‘spreads’.
Both BMPG and BMPI have generated strong relative returns over the past year, exceptionally so in the case of BMPG. These strong results, and BMPG benefitting from strategic tilts towards winning growth strategies and structural allocations to protective assets, should be highly gratifying to existing shareholders. Similarly, we estimate that the income transfer mechanism has helped the attractive historic yield of 4.6% (as at 12/02/2021) remain covered. This, we would note, frees up some of the requirement to seek income within BMPI’s portfolio and allows Peter to retain a greater exposure to opportunities for capital growth whilst maintaining and growing the dividend than might otherwise be the case.
Nonetheless, the degree of outperformance from BMPG in particular is very extended relative to history. We note the manager’s comment to the effect that he does not believe the tailwinds many top holdings enjoyed in 2020 will be replicated in the coming months (though he remains positive), and we would concur with this. The announcement of COVID-19 vaccine developments in November 2020 proved positive for the relative fortunes of ‘value’ strategies but a headwind for BMPG on a relative basis (though absolute returns were strong subsequently). We would anticipate any trend towards value or UK outperformance and/or rising inflation as likely to prove a near-term headwind for both share classes.
|Performance has been strong over both the long and short term
||UK outperformance to the rest of the world would likely be a headwind relative to the benchmark
|Income shares offer attractive yield which remains covered by income
||Gearing can exacerbate downside, as well as amplify upside
|Share conversion facility allows shareholders to adjust to changing portfolio requirements tax efficiently
||Limited to no discount opportunity