Fund Profile


Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by European Opportunities Trust. 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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European Opportunities Trust (EOT) owns a portfolio of companies selected by long term manager Alexander Darwall because of their “special” qualities. In Alexander’s view, these companies are differentiated and have unique products which makes them likely a leader not just in Europe, but globally.

The concentration of the portfolio, which sees the top ten holdings represent 68% of total assets (as at 31/05/2022), is indicative of just how different EOT really is. However, in several other ways it also differs from the benchmark and peers, including its exposure to UK listed companies which at the time of writing is around 21% of NAV. By contrast, peers have largely Europe ex-UK mandates. As we discuss in the Portfolio section, EOT is also differentiated because it is neither strongly invested in very high growth stocks nor in ‘value’. EOT’s exposure to ‘core’ at 61% is higher than any other trust in the peer group. This does not mean that the portfolio is not exposed to growth companies, but perhaps in a less extreme way than several peers.

Historically, EOT has also been differentiated by performance. As we discuss in the Performance section, since inception Alexander has delivered impressive NAV total returns of 11.0% per annum, vs. 5.6% for the MSCI Europe Index (to 31/05/2022). 2020 provided lots of challenges to investors of all types, but for EOT the negative effect of the Wirecard investment meant that the trust underperformed peers and the index by a wide margin. 2021 seemed to mark a return to form, but EOT’s performance so far this year has been behind the benchmark, although it is ahead of the peer group average.

EOT has historically tended to trade at a premium to peers, and occasionally a premium in absolute terms. EOT and the rest of the peer group has seen a setback in terms of discount (see the Discount section), and EOT now trades on a discount of 12.3%, a level which has only been exceeded on a sustained basis in the depths of the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

Analyst's View

In our view, EOT is amongst the purer expressions of active management in the entire investment trust universe. Alexander has applied the same philosophy and stock-picking process since he launched EOT in 2000, and focusses entirely on fundamental research and his team’s understanding of companies developed through manager meetings and 26 years of investing experience in this sphere.

In absolute terms, a discount of 12% for an investment trust is wide. In fact, there are few other trusts with non-specialist mandates and exposure to liquid equities that have a wider discount. Long term investors may therefore see this as an opportunity. Certainly, there are plenty of worries on the horizon for equity investors, but Alexander has always invested in companies that in his view should be able to deliver good long-term returns, irrespective of the economic environment.

Short term, Alexander’s confidence in portfolio companies’ strong balance sheets and earnings power explains EOT’s current level of gearing of 9.4% (as at 31/05/2022). This is higher than it has been in the recent past, and reflects both the fall in the market which will increase gearing all things being equal, but also Alexander investing more capital as valuations have come back. Whilst there may be volatile periods ahead, over the long term his track record shows that his active management has added value. When equity markets are back on a surer footing, one might hope the discount may settle at a narrower level.


  • Strong long-term track record from a high-conviction, stock-picking manager
  • Pragmatic mandate enables manager to look for best European companies operating on a global scale
  • Potential for a re-rating given wide discount in absolute terms


  • Highly active portfolio can mean that at times, performance can lag the wider market
  • Gearing can exacerbate the downside, as well as boost returns on the upside
  • Devon Equity Management is a young company
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

15 May 2024 Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?
European growth may be more complicated, and positive, than we suspected...
19 Jan 2024 Finding your Eurovision
As one of the top-performing sectors, why does Europe remain strangely out of favour with UK investors?
17 Jan 2024 Fund Analysis
EOT's portfolio of leading global companies, as well as the discount to NAV, offer strong recovery potential...
03 Jan 2024 Probably better asking an octopus
Our investment trust experts uncurl a tentacle each and choose their ‘top picks’ for 2024…
25 Oct 2023 We’re going to need a bigger boat...
We argue corporate activity is picking up, making the investment trust sector an exciting place to invest…
23 Aug 2023 Halfway there…investing on a prayer
We provide an update on our picks for 2023 and see which analysts' prayers are being answered…
21 Jun 2023 Ça plane pour moi
Some of the world's biggest companies are doing just fine in Europe, yet investors shun the region. Time for a rethink...
19 Apr 2023 Are we nearly there yet?
We look at which trusts have done best year to date, and ask where there may be value…
16 Mar 2023 Diversity matters
We examine the effect of blending multiple funds within your regional allocation and find that – while the culture wars may rumble on elsewhere – the benefits of diversity for investors are unarguable…
04 Jan 2023 Here we go again
We review our ‘top picks’ for what was a wild year and place our bets for the year ahead – which doesn’t look much calmer…
16 Nov 2022 Fund Analysis
A sustainable growth portfolio for more uncertain times...
05 Oct 2022 European equities: Oui ou non?
Our analysts go head to head on the prospects for investors looking to the continent for prospective investments...
15 Jun 2022 Fund Analysis
EOT’s wide discount in historic terms may be an opportunity…
13 Oct 2021 Fund Analysis
After a torrid 2020, JEO is currently on track to deliver outperformance of the benchmark once again…
09 Sep 2021 What next for European equities?
After a strong period for European equity markets, we ask whether this trend can continue…
10 Mar 2021 Spring Conference '21
Audio and presentations from 21 of the UK’s leading investment trust managers…
04 Mar 2021 Slides and Audio: European Opportunities Trust
Download the presentation and listen to the audio from our 'Ideas for your ISA' Spring Conference on 02 March...
04 Mar 2021 Fund Analysis
Down, but not out: JEO has a challenging period of performance in 2020 but we think the double-digit discount presents an opportunity...
04 Feb 2021 Eurovision 2021
We highlight potential opportunities within the European investment trust space…
19 Aug 2020 Has the time come for Europe?
With mutual eurozone debt established all eyes are on the continent once more; but what will drive relative returns?
29 Jul 2020 To be, or not to be (geared), that is the question
Gearing is part of the toolkit that trusts use to outperform OEICs. But how is it best implemented?...
25 Jul 2020 Fund Analysis
A torrid 2020 for JEO means it is on an attractive discount...
22 Oct 2019 Fund Analysis
Run by one of the most successful fund managers in the investment trust universe, JEO offers exposure to exciting growth opportunities across Europe…
11 Sep 2019 Nanny knows best: how regulation is influencing returns
New research suggests disruption is threatened by increased regulation, with clear consequences for investment strategists...
17 Jul 2019 Ready for action
In the second part of our active management series, we assess the most active managers across the major closed-ended equity sectors…
10 Apr 2019 Because they're worth it
With the rise of the passives putting more pressure on fees than ever before, we argue that performance fees could be the key to encouraging truly active investment trust managers...
27 Feb 2019 A marathon not a sprint
Our research shows that investment trusts' structural advantages give them a significant edge for investors seeking long-term capital growth...
22 Feb 2019 Fund Analysis
Jupiter European Opportunities (JEO) has reigned supreme across Europe for the past decade or so, in both consistency and extent of outperformance...
28 Nov 2018 Every cloud...
The endless grinding negativity of Brexit has driven investors away from Europe in scores, but some managers see rich pickings for those willing to take the risk...
07 Nov 2018 The Great British Buffett
New research claims to have identified the secret of Warren Buffett's success; we apply similar principles to find fund managers in the UK with similar characteristics...
17 Oct 2018 Fund Analysis
Jupiter European Opportunities (JEO) has delivered a consistently strong performance over the last decade...
22 Aug 2018 Reassuringly expensive?
Some investment trust premiums have been stretched to eye-watering levels. Have investors been enjoying themselves in the sun too much? We try to rationalise current levels and suggest alternatives...
09 Jul 2018 Go big or go home
Our research suggests that fund managers who are willing to back their convictions with punchy bets tend to outperform over the long term...
30 May 2018 Forza Italia!
Recent weeks have seen Italy's rocky relationship with the EU thrust into the spotlight once again, but apart from fresh volatility - how much has really changed?
24 Jan 2018 Fishing in the right pond...
We analyse where active managers have been able to add the most value relative to their benchmark indices...
24 Jan 2018 Fund Analysis
A growth-orientated portfolio of high-quality companies listed across continental Europe and the UK with an almost unrivaled track record of outperformance...
19 Jan 2018 Full steam ahead?
Jupiter Fund of Investment Trusts manager Richard Curling gives his view on the potential risks and rewards for the major equity regions around the world in 2018...
20 Sep 2017 Back to School…
Tim Stevenson, manager of the Henderson Euro Trust, discusses the economic and political backdrop for European equities…
25 Jul 2017 En Garde!
Following a significant reversal in fortunes over the course of 2017, we analyse the outlook for the high-flying European equity market and the trusts that focus on it...
25 Jul 2017 Fund Analysis
One of the top performing trusts in any sector thanks a bottom-up approach and a focus on high-quality companies...
26 Apr 2017 The greatest...
We use technical analysis to identify some of the best stock picking fund managers over the long-term...
03 Feb 2017 Analysis: What next for European ITs?
Our analysis shows that European investment trusts have in recent years delivered strong returns to investors from their current discount, but risks abound in 2017...
24 Nov 2016 Investment trusts vs OEICs: The definitive guide
We take a look at how investment trusts really stack up against their open-ended fund rivals...
23 Nov 2016 Head-to-head: Four trusts that stack up well against their open ended counterparts...
We highlight the trusts that have outperformed their open-ended equivalent in NAV and price terms, have cheaper charges and are trading at wide discounts to their own history...
19 Sep 2016 Europe: A contrarian investor's view...
Political chaos in Europe provides an opportunity to acquire exposure to some of the world’s largest multinationals at a significant discount...
19 May 2016 Six reasons to invest in Europe
Henderson European Focus Trust manager John Bennett is optimistic on the outlook despite the looming referendum...
25 Apr 2016 Fighting spirit
Why investment trusts have been the ultimate recovery play...
26 Nov 2015 Masters of the universe
We use quantitative analysis techniques to highlight five of the best stockpicking managers in the investment companies sector
21 Sep 2015 Investment trust news, research, strategy, analysis...
21 Sep 2015 Terms & Conditions
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