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Fund Profile


Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by Witan. 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.

2023 has, so far, seen a return to outperformance, but the discount remains wide by historical standards…

Witan Investment Trust (LON:WTAN) is a simple-to-understand one-stop shop for investors wanting an intelligently put-together global equity exposure. By allocating to a range of different managers, WTAN’s in-house executive team look to provide an all-weather exposure, capable of good performance through the cycle. For some time now, WTAN has been managed with a strong emphasis on responsible investment (see ESG section).

Underlying investment decisions for WTAN are taken by a roster of third-party investment managers (see Portfolio section), each running a segregated account. This enables continuous dialogue with underlying managers, enabling the executive team to monitor performance, not to mention progress towards WTAN being 100%-invested in sustainable businesses by 2030 or earlier. The executive team aim for WTAN to be a long-term partner for managers, but the team do trim or add to allocations or, less often, make wholesale changes.

Within the core manager line-up, WTAN has 10% (+/-5%) invested in UK managers, reflecting the UK bias of WTAN’s retail investors. WTAN’s benchmark is a composite of 85% of the MSCI ACWI Index and 15% of the MSCI UK Investable Market Index. This differs from WTAN’s multi-manager investment trust peers, which have purely global equity benchmarks. Approximately 25% of the portfolio is invested within the specialist managers and strategies, aiming to add to risk-adjusted returns through superior and often uncorrelated returns. When combined, WTAN’s portfolio is highly diversified and the active share is high, standing at 79%, as at 30/06/2023.

Investors in WTAN should expect the trust to be geared, with 10% seen as a neutral level. WTAN has now delivered 48 years of consecutive dividend increases. This puts it firmly amongst the leaders of the AIC’s ‘Dividend Heroes’ and the shares yield 2.6%.

Kepler View

WTAN’s in-house executive team is aligned fully with shareholders and their considered and thoughtful approach to allocating capital is exemplified by their approach to sustainable investing (see ESG section). That said, a high active share means that the portfolio can behave very differently to the benchmark and peers, and the NAV may well underperform at times. Whilst WTAN has outperformed over one and three years, it has struggled over a five-year period thanks to several one-off factors (see Performance section) that have hindered relative performance against benchmarks. That said, the comparison with the AIC Global peer group is perhaps more indicative. On this basis, WTAN’s NAV has delivered a reasonable degree of outperformance of the peer group’s weighted average return.

Gearing and WTAN’s unique portfolio set-up tends to expose investors to slightly higher volatility than global equities’ ETFs. The trust’s underperformance during 2022 does not, in our view, signify any fundamental issues with Witan’s process or manager line-up, and the NAV performance so far during 2023 gives cause for optimism. As such, for investors willing to take a long-term view, WTAN represents a unique one-stop shop for global equity investors and the discount of 9.2% is considerably wider than the five-year average of 5.8%. With the board remaining committed to reducing the discount over time, evidenced by buyback activity continuing, investors may see the current discount as an opportunity.


  • Manager-of-managers-approach offers diversified exposure within a clear portfolio structure
  • Majority of global managers complemented by specialists means portfolio is likely to be differentiated compared to other global trusts
  • A reliable dividend, progressively growing for the past 48 years


  • Structurally higher exposure to UK than many global peers means this could influence relative performance
  • Poor performance in H1 2020 and H1 2022 means long-term track record has been affected
  • Gearing can exacerbate the downside
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

17 Apr 2024 Pretty, pretty, pretty good
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19 Jul 2023 Fund Analysis
2023 has, so far, seen a return to outperformance, but the discount remains wide by historical standards…
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…
30 Dec 2022 Fund Analysis
Short-term challenges do nothing to dim the long-term prospects for Witan…
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...
03 Aug 2022 Fund Analysis
WTAN’s differentiated approach remains attractive despite short term performance challenges…
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...
08 Dec 2021 Fund Analysis
Witan continues to adapt to a changing investment environment...
19 Aug 2021 Pandemic immunity
We ask which global equity trusts have outperformed through the different stages of the pandemic…
16 Jun 2021 A better class of travel*
Sharing many features of a traditional family office, investment trusts offer a sophisticated, cost effective solution for managing family wealth...
09 Jun 2021 Fund Analysis
A solid period of outperformance means WTAN is back in business...
16 Dec 2020 Fund Analysis
Witan has bounced back from Q1 2020, making the 7.6% discount potentially attractive…
07 Sep 2020 Fund Analysis
WTAN has had a challenging 2020, but a refreshed line-up of managers makes the 7.8% discount potentially attractive…
03 Dec 2019 Fund Analysis
Highly active multi-manager approach offering a ‘one-stop shop’ for capital appreciation and income…
23 Oct 2019 Sail away: the best trusts to escape the UK
We look under the hoods of Global sector trusts to see which offer the best diversification prospects for UK investors...
15 Apr 2019 Fund Analysis
Witan follows a highly active ‘manager of managers’ approach, using a range of third-party managers to gain exposure to global equity markets...
26 Jul 2018 Fund Analysis
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25 Jul 2018 The Endurance Growth Portfolio
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14 Dec 2017 Race to the bottom
Ahead of the new PRIIPS rules we examine the progress investment trust boards are making in reducing costs...
24 May 2017 Fund Analysis
12 Jul 2016 Fund Analysis
12 Jul 2016 Taking the bull by the horns
We examine the boards which have done most to fight for their shareholders' interests in an unforgiving arena...
12 Jul 2016 Anarchy in the UK
We collate the reactions of the City's leading investment companies analysts in the wake of the EU referendum...
20 Apr 2016 A wild ride for Endurance Growth
Our long term growth model portfolio has had a white knuckle ride since launch in July...
19 Apr 2016 Fund Analysis
19 Apr 2016 Brexit discount slump is a buying opportunity
Analysts believe a sharp bounce is likely if the public comes down in favour of a 'remain' vote.
15 Mar 2016 First class trusts at knockout discounts
A fire-sale by a fund of investment trusts dumping assets worth more than £650m is good news for discount hunters...
13 Oct 2015 Analyst
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07 Sep 2015 RIT Cap stands out amid market chaos
RIT Capital, the most risk averse member of The Endurance Growth Portfolio, has eked out a positive return against a backdrop of plunging markets this summer
07 Jul 2015 Fund Analysis
10 Jun 2015 The Endurance Growth Portfolio
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