Fund Profile


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

AEI is delivering a sector-leading yield, with low valuations offering strong capital growth potential…

Manager of abrdn Equity Income Trust (AEI), Thomas Moore, aims to deliver three key goals: provide a high income, provide an income that grows over time, and provide capital growth. To achieve these goals, Thomas has considerable flexibility, allowing him to invest across the UK market cap spectrum with an index-agnostic approach. This allows him to find the best opportunities, that often trade at attractive valuations as they are overlooked by other investors (see Portfolio).

The trust is one of the highest yielders in the sector at 7.5%, and the dividends are fully covered by revenue. The manager believes this yield is solidly supported, and its future growth is assured by the diversified portfolio, including the small- and medium-sized companies, and strong underlying revenue growth. Looking forward, Thomas believes a turnaround in macro factors should begin to support a market recovery, with low valuations offering a lot of potential (see Performance).

Gearing is typically a structural element of the trust and has been used to support the high dividend. The current level is approximately in line with the trust’s neutral level to allow the portfolio to capitalise on the low valuations and support outperformance should the market rebound.

The trust’s Discount narrowed sharply in the past 12 months. The trust traded close to NAV for much of the past year which has enabled the board to issue shares and increase the size of the trust.

Analyst's View

Thomas has achieved his goal of delivering a very high yield, making AEI one of the best yielders in the sector and delivering a very competitive yield level from equities. He has also delivered another year of dividend growth, which the manager believes is well supported going forward by the underlying portfolio, including the benefits of a diversified portfolio such as holding small- and mid-caps (see Portfolio). We understand the dividend growth track record, currently 23 years, is likely to be a key focus of the manager and, in our view, the prospects for dividend growth are strong. We think for those seeking high-income generation from their equity holdings, AEI makes for a compelling offering (see Dividend).

In our opinion, the UK market is significantly undervalued, and this could lead to an improvement in capital returns from the trust. We understand this is now a focus for the manager with the income profile well supported. We believe the trust would benefit from a change in market sentiment, with one ‘bucket’ in the portfolio used specifically for identifying undervalued opportunities. We would expect the small and mid-cap bias to be supportive in any recovery as they typically perform better in rising markets. The differentiation these holdings provide could also help with relative performance (see Performance).

Furthermore, the high level of structural Gearing could support the trust on the upside should sentiment improve. As such, we believe AEI would be a significant beneficiary of a turnaround in market sentiment and would be well-placed to capture a market rally.


  • Very high covered yield that is delivering growth
  • Differentiated portfolio including a bias to small and mid-caps
  • Trust has recently reduced its charges


  • Gearing is high which can amplify losses as well as supporting upside potential
  • Value-tilted portfolio could struggle in a growth driven environment
  • Small and mid-cap bias would likely struggle should a recession take hold
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

26 Mar 2024 High yield UK stocks, with AEI Manager Thomas Moore – Podcast: Trust Issues #28
We talk managing value trap risks, opportunities in the UK, and the outlook for UK equities...
27 Dec 2023 Fund Analysis
AEI is delivering a sector-leading yield, with low valuations offering strong capital growth potential…
13 Dec 2023 In-come all ye faithful
Equity income could be a beneficiary of the higher interest environment, with trusts a good way to capture it…
11 Oct 2023 You say potato
Despite being in the same sector, investment trusts in the UK Equity Income sector could be more lowly correlated than you might think…
01 Feb 2023 Go your own way
Our analysis shows that investment trusts offer better diversification for those seeking income from equities...
01 Feb 2023 Fund Analysis
AEI generates one of the highest yields in the sector without compromising growth potential…
25 May 2022 Fund Analysis
A contrarian approach to UK equity income investing…
09 Feb 2022 The dividend dilemma
We examine the trade-off between earning a current high dividend yield and growing future dividends...
15 Dec 2021 Dividends in the time of corona
Investment trusts have proven their worth during the pandemic, delivering dividend growth despite the turmoil…
15 Sep 2021 Fund Analysis
ASEI has had a strong twelve months as the macro shifts in its favour...
19 May 2021 Results analysis: Aberdeen Standard Equity Income
ASEI’s board have indicated that it intends to raise the dividend again in the current financial year…
03 Mar 2021 Strength in depth
UK Equity Income trusts have done a heroic job of maintaining their dividends through the pandemic...
05 Nov 2020 Fund Analysis
ASEI targets above-average income and capital growth with an index-agnostic approach...
15 Apr 2020 Hold fast
Investment trusts' revenue reserves could make them a vital stronghold for investors facing UK dividend cuts of as much as 47%....
12 Mar 2020 The importance of buying earners*
Our analysis shows that the impact of dividend contributions on long term returns is anything but trivial...
05 Mar 2020 Fund Analysis
ASEI targets above-average income and capital growth with an index-agnostic approach...
05 Dec 2019 Holding something in reserve
A sterling bounce poses a threat to UK dividends - we look at how UK equity income investment trust managers stand prepared…
26 Jun 2019 Measure for measure
In the first of a two-part series, we examine the tools investors can use to assess how active a manager actually is…
14 May 2019 Fund Analysis
The long-standing manager, Thomas Moore, utilities a bottom up approach to identifying opportunities, and is entirely index agnostic in his approach...
03 Oct 2018 We can be heroes
Our analysis has uncovered the trusts which have generated a solid income through thick and thin - without compromising other aspects of performance...
01 Oct 2018 Fund Analysis
Standard Life Equity Income (SLET) offers investors above-average income, while also providing real growth in capital and income.
13 Jun 2018 Still waters run deep
UK equity income trusts trade at a discount to their global-equity-income-focused counterparts, yet our research suggests this could be unjustified...
13 Jun 2018 Fund Analysis
A highly-differentiated UK trust which, thanks to the manager’s unconstrained approach, generates the majority of its income away from the most popularly-held stocks in the sector...
13 Dec 2017 Fund Analysis
A highly-active, benchmark-agnostic portfolio of UK equities with a clear bias towards companies that generate attractive dividend growth.
06 Jun 2017 Fund Analysis
A UK focused equity income portfolio with a solid track record and unique investment style...
View all

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