Fund Profile

Disclaimer

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by Columbia Threadneedle Investments. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

Overview
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Overview

F&C Investment Trust (FCIT) is managed by Paul Niven, who aims to provide investors with a highly diversified portfolio of global equities. The strategy takes a multi-manager approach, and Paul aims to identify best-in-class, specialist bottom-up-focused stock selectors, which he allocates to according to his tactical and strategic asset allocation views. Over the course of 2023, Paul has gradually shifted the portfolio away from the more value-orientated strategies he favoured last year, providing what he hopes to be a more balanced and more cautious exposure - also demonstrated through the relatively low level of Gearing. The trust also provides a significant allocation to private equity – an allocation that has proven to generate alpha over the long term.

FCIT’s long term performance characteristics have been strong, with it displaying superior risk and downside protection characteristics while delivering a NAV total return of 55% over a particularly volatile five-year period. This compares to the typically more stylistically driven strategies within the global sector, which generated an average return of 29% over the same period (see Performance).

Year-to-date performance has been more challenging, with Paul’s more balanced approach lagging the benchmark, due to a low allocation to the ‘magnificent seven’, US technology companies that have driven equity market returns. However, a greater focus on value and income continues to bolster the contribution from revenues and the board expects to provide a 53rd consecutive year of dividend increases – cementing its spot as one of the longest-standing AIC ‘dividend heroes’ (see Dividend).

FCIT’s Discount is currently 9.9%, which is significantly wider than its five-year average of 5.7%.

Kepler View

We believe FCIT’s highly diversified portfolio is a strong core global equity holding. Paul’s active approach to portfolio management ensures FCIT is not overly exposed to any individual risk factors, which can be particularly advantageous in more uncertain economic environments. Furthermore, Paul’s ability to shift the tactical allocations allows him to respond to the ever-changing market conditions. His rotation away from high-growth strategies into more value and quality income-focused strategies in 2022 dampened the impact of the sharp rise in interest rates compared to some all-out growth focused strategies within the global and specialist sectors. Moreover, we believe Paul’s gradual shift to a more balanced exposure over 2023 could enhance FCIT’s long-term risk, downside protection and performance characteristics.

Despite the recent underperformance of the private equity allocation this year to date, the exposure to high-quality, early-stage private equity offers an additional opportunity to generate alpha. Although structural Gearing remains a core feature of the portfolio, we believe Paul’s more cautious stance is sensible in the current environment. Moreover, the well-timed refinancing of the trust’s long-term debt facilities, which reduced the blended rate from 7.1% to 2.4%, should positively contribute to future returns.

However, as shown over the first half of 2023, this approach can leave FCIT prone to periods of short-term underperformance, particularly in stylistically driven markets. That said, if investors agree with Paul’s view that valuations are looking elevated in the dominating mega-cap tech names, casting the net across a broader range of equites is likely to be more beneficial, and the recent widening of the Discount may present a good entry point for long-term investors.

Bull

  • Strong, long-term performance characteristics, particularly risk and downside protection, relative to peers
  • Discount significantly wider than five-year average
  • All-weather investment vehicle, which offers an exposure to hard-to-access private equity

Bear

  • Performance can lag during stylistically driven markets
  • Highly diverse strategy limits diversification benefits relative to more specialist strategies
  • Gearing can exaggerate losses on the downside
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

17 Jun 2024 Fund Analysis
Broadening equity market strength may mean FCIT’s diverse portfolio is well placed to benefit…
17 Apr 2024 Pretty, pretty, pretty good
Do investment trusts really protect capital and income against inflation? Let's take a look…
13 Nov 2023 Fund Analysis
FCIT’s discount may provide an attractive entry point…
12 Jul 2023 Many hands make light work
We break down how multi-managers have performed over the past five years and their positioning for the inevitable uncertainty that lies ahead…
12 Jun 2023 Fund Analysis
FCIT’s core global equity characteristics have offered steady growth in a volatile environment…
23 Mar 2023 The first course: week one of our ISA event in review
We look at the first four presentations of our ISA season event…
06 Mar 2023 Value and growth, and why both matter, with F&C's Paul Niven
Paul Niven
Rewatch this webinar from our month-long online series 'A feast of ideas for your ISA' hosted by the team at Kepler Trust Intelligence throughout March...
Watch Recording
26 Oct 2022 Money for nothing
Debt measured at fair value has had a positive impact on NAV returns for a number of investment trusts this year...
27 Sep 2022 Fund Analysis
FCIT has provided consistent performance in an uncertain market environment…
17 Aug 2022 The world for sale
While investment trusts are lagging their open-ended cousins in the global sector, their discounts may provide an attractive entry point...
30 Mar 2022 You say tomato…
Do it yourself or put it into a global fund and leave it to the experts - our analyst debate the merits of each approach...
02 Mar 2022 Spread 'em!
We explore how much dispersion in returns of stocks drive the differing fortunes of trusts…
13 Dec 2021 Fund Analysis
FCIT’s broad-based approach to global equity investing has let it capitalise on current markets, being one of the sector’s best performers recently…
03 Nov 2021 Don't fear the reaper
With market direction hard to call, we consider the case for taking a long-term view in the investment trust sector…
19 Aug 2021 Pandemic immunity
We ask which global equity trusts have outperformed through the different stages of the pandemic…
04 Aug 2021 60/40 and other dinosaurs
A simple practical step to take your portfolio from the 1990s into the 2020s...
10 Jun 2021 Green is good!
2021 will see billions dedicated to sustainable initiatives, which brings with it a host of possible investment opportunities...
21 May 2021 Fund Analysis
FCIT is celebrating its 50th year of consecutive dividend growth…
12 Mar 2021 Results analysis: F&C Investment Trust
We examine the full year results released by the board of FCIT, assessing what has driven the trust’s performance and how it continues to offer a unique proposition in the global equity space…
19 Nov 2020 Fund Analysis
FCIT offers a well-diversified global multi-strategy portfolio at an attractive discount…
23 Oct 2019 Fund Analysis
One of the world’s oldest investment trusts, F&C Investment Trust is on course for its 49th year of consecutive dividend increases...
13 Dec 2018 Fund Analysis
The world’s oldest investment trust is on course for its 48th consecutive year of dividend increases having paid a dividend every year since launch...
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