Fund Profile


Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by Ashoka India Equity. 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.

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Ashoka India Equity Investment Trust (AIE) has been the best-performing India specialist trust since it was launched in July 2018. In that time AIE has been the only one of four India trusts to generate positive returns, and has done so with strong performance on the downside – most especially in 2020 to date, as we discuss in the Performance section.

This strong performance has led the trust’s shares to regularly trade on a premium to NAV, but following the pandemic they have fallen onto a discount of 3.5%. The impact on the market has seen valuations fall significantly too, and both Indian equities and AIE’s portfolio are trading on a 30% discount to its historical price to book. The premium versus the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has also collapsed by the same amount.

The philosophy of AIE’s advisory team is to invest in great businesses when they are available at a discount to intrinsic value. The team use a unique proprietary framework, the Capital-Light Excess Investment Return (CLEIR), to uncover these opportunities. The process is designed to make sure stock selection determines relative returns and ensure the portfolio is not overexposed to any macroeconomic outcome. Good corporate governance is highly prized and the team look for management whose interests are aligned with their own.

The investment manager White Oak Capital Management was founded by Prashant Khemka, former CIO and lead portfolio manager for Global Emerging Markets Equity and India Equity at Goldman Sachs. Apart from the stock-selection process, key distinguishing features include the performance-fee-only charging structure designed to align the managers’ interests with those of shareholders (see the Charges section).

Analyst's View

While this trust's track record is relatively short, the proportion of alpha coming from stock selection and the strong performance on the downside have both been impressive. We think the strong, results-focussed culture of independent research and accountability for individual stock picks is a good foundation for longer-term success.

India has lagged the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in recent years, with China and other North Asian countries seeing huge inflows. However, in our view, an allocation toward India remains part of a balanced portfolio for the long term. As well as the secular tailwind provided by a growing population and one of the best entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world, the country has, unlike China, a strong legal system and independent institutions.

In fact, the pandemic could be an opportunity for India to gain market share as an outsourcing destination and to attract FDI which would otherwise have gone to China. Certainly the Indian government is keen to take advantage. In the short term, the country is also one of the key beneficiaries of a low oil price, as it imports practically all its energy. The price falls have so far been harvested by the government by tax rises, garnering it a war chest to be able to use in order to stimulate the economy and offset the impact of the pandemic.

bull bear
The best track record amongst India specialist peers since inception Currently too small for many large investors (but placing programme active when shares on a premium)
Wide discount relative to its history As a single-county trust, highly exposed to the politics and economy of one state
Uniquely aligned fee structure aligns managers' interests with those of investors Relatively short track record in this structure
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

16 Jun 2022 Focus on the long-term
AIE’s performance in 2022 shows why quality is important in the long-run…
10 Jun 2022 A balancing act
Two trusts that have made efforts to align their interests with shareholders have also produced good returns…
09 Jun 2022 Fund Analysis
AIE still best in its class, but now on a discount...
01 Jun 2022 Are emerging markets doomed?
Bunching together different parts of the world leads to an unnuanced view of the opportunities in emerging markets…
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...
29 Mar 2022 Heads we win, tails we lose
Ashoka India Equity’s unique structure means it is strongly aligned with shareholder interests…
25 Mar 2022 Slides and Audio: Ashoka India Equity
Download the presentation and listen to the audio from our 'Ideas for your ISA' virtual Spring event on 16 March...
23 Mar 2022 Fifteen ideas for your ISA
Slides and audio from our event last week, featuring fund managers running money in every major market in the world...
04 Mar 2022 Results analysis: Ashoka India Equity
AIE has been the strongest trust in its peer group since launching in 2018…
10 Nov 2021 Fantastic growth funds (and where to find them)
We found them in India, Japan, frontier markets, healthcare and the global sector – and here they are…
10 Nov 2021 Slides and Audio: Ashoka India Equity
Download the presentation and listen to the audio from our 'Fantastic growth funds (and where to find them)' conference on 4 November...
27 Oct 2021 Fund Analysis
AIE has performed exceptionally well in its first three years…
13 Oct 2021 Beyond the Middle Kingdom
As momentum falters in the emerging markets powerhouse, we examine the options for investors outside China...
30 Sep 2021 Results analysis: Ashoka India Equity
AIE has reported another year of strong alpha generation…
31 Mar 2021 East End boys and West End girls
Our analysts debate whether the US or Asian stock markets will deliver the best returns over the next decade…
24 Mar 2021 Shoot to Thrill: ISA targets for long term growth
We all intend to invest for the long-term but can often be distracted by the news...
16 Mar 2021 Fund Analysis
AIE is far and away the top-performing India trust since it launched in July 2018…
08 Mar 2021 Results analysis: Ashoka India Equity
AIE has outperformed its benchmark over the last six months and is well positioned to continue delivering returns as the recovery in India gathers pace…
07 Oct 2020 Five ways to play Indian equities
India is struggling economically – but could there be a value opportunity in the stock market?
13 Aug 2020 Underground bangers
We look for hidden gems in the smaller end of the investment trust universe...
14 Jul 2020 Fund Analysis
AIE is the top-performing India specialist trust and is trading on a rare discount…
05 Jun 2020 Deep impact
Audio and presentations from our conference this week, where fifteen of the world's best fund managers described a profoundly altered investment landscape...
13 May 2020 Braving the new world
Join 15 of the UK's best known fund managers at the Kepler Trust Intelligence Virtual Summit to find out how they see the world after the pandemic...
05 Mar 2020 Don't panic: the case for investing in Asia this ISA season
We examine the relationship between stock market and GDP growth, before debating the case for an allocation to Asia...
29 Jan 2020 Fund Analysis
AIE offers a pure stock-picking portfolio of Indian equities with a unique fee structure…
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