Citywire Investment Trust Awards 2021: The Shortlists!

November is fast approaching when the winners of Citywire’s Investment Trust Awards 2021 will be revealed. Here are all the investment companies in contention for a prize this year.

November is fast approaching when the winners of Citywire’s Investment Trust Awards 2021 will be revealed.  

The data is in, the judges have met, ironed out the statistical queries and settled on the shortlists and winners for our 18 performance awards.

There is also a unique ‘Best Board’ award for the group of non-executive directors deemed to have done the best job for their investment trust shareholders.

My thanks to the four judges for their time and effort. They are:

  • Genevra Banszky von Ambroz, fund manager at Smith & Williamson;
  • Mick Gilligan, head of managed portfolio services at Killik & Co;
  • Ewan Lovett-Turner, head of investment companies research at Numis Securities;
  • and John Newlands of Newlands Fund Research.

The Citywire Investment Trust Performance Awards are based on the three-year returns of trusts in 18 categories up to 31 August. In most of the categories, investment trusts and companies were ranked on their ‘information ratios’, which rewards closed-end funds with the best risk-adjusted returns against their benchmark index. More details are available here on the methodology.

In Private Equity, Property, Infrastructure and Debt we either rank trusts on their three-year growth in net asset value or calculate their risk-adjusted returns against cash using the Sharpe ratio (see sector commentary below).

Several trusts are going for third successive wins but after the turmoil of the pandemic, I can promise some upsets.

The awards will be announced on this website after an awards ceremony in London on 10 November.

Here, in alphabetical order are the shortlists for our 2021 awards.

Asia Pacific Equities

Aberdeen New Dawn (ABD )
Asia Dragon (DGN )
Pacific Horizon (PHI )
Schroder AsiaPacific (SDP )
Schroder Asian Total Return (ATR )

Can Pacific Horizon win the Asia crown again after the departure of former fund manager Ewan Markson-Brown or can Schroder Asian Total Return pinch back the award it won in 2019?

Emerging Market Single Country

Ashoka India Equity (AIE )
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS )
JPMorgan China Growth & Income (JCGI )
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (VEIL )

Will strong performances from Ashoka India and Vietnam Enterprise be enough to overtake the two shortlisted China trusts after this summer’s turbulence and prevent JPMorgan China Growth & Income chalking up a third consecutive win? 

European Equities

Baillie Gifford European Growth (BGEU )
BlackRock Greater Europe (BGRE )
Henderson EuroTrust (HNE )
Montanaro European Smaller Companies (MTE )

George Cooke of Montanaro European Small Companies is also looking for a third trophy but faces stiff competition from Baillie Gifford, BlackRock and Janus Henderson.

Global Emerging Market Equities

JPMorgan Emerging Markets (JMG )
JPMorgan Global Emerging Markets Income (JEMI )
Templeton Emerging Markets (TEM )

Will Templeton’s recent China-related slowdown have dented its three-year returns to put it out of the running? Austin Forey’s JPMorgan Emerging Markets will hope so but also has to fend off in-house rival JEMI if it is to collect its third consecutive gong from Citywire.

Global Equities

Martin Currie Global Portfolio (MNP )
Mid Wynd International (MWY )
Monks (MNKS )
Scottish Mortgage (SMT )

A Scottish winner is guaranteed in this hotly contested sector. Scottish Mortgage is probably the favourite after its barn-storming performance in 2020 and recovery from the spring tech sell-off, but the Baillie Gifford flagship faces stablemate Monks and Edinburgh-based rival Martin Currie and Dundee-linked but Artemis-managed Mid Wynd.  

International Income

JPMorgan Global Growth & Income (JGGI )
Scottish American (SAIN )
Schroder Oriental Income (SOI )

JPMorgan Global Growth & Income is in the spotlight after its proposed takeover of Scottish (SCIN) investment trust this week. The strong performance that deal highlighted makes it best-placed to thwart Scottish American as the Baillie Gifford managed dividend growth trust looks to secure its third win in a row.

Japanese Equities

Aberdeen Japan (AJIT )
Fidelity Japan Trust (FJV )
JPMorgan Japanese (JFJ )
JPMorgan Japan Small Cap Growth & Income (JSGI )

Baillie Gifford Japan (BGFD) may be celebrating its 40th birthday  but it won’t be scooping one of our awards this year, and nor will small-cap focused stable mate Shin Nippon (BGS), which was short-listed last year but also fails to make the cut. Instead, JPMorgan’s two Japan trusts are vying with Aberdeen and Fidelity for this sector’s prize.

North America Equities 

Baillie Gifford US Growth (USA )
JPMorgan American (JAM )
JPMorgan US Smaller Companies (JUSC )

Baillie Gifford US Growth does make the cut as the £1bn trust launched in 2018 qualifies with a three-year record for the first time. Lined up against it are both of JPMorgan’s US trusts, including its US small-cap fund which won in 2019.

Specialist Equities

Ecofin Global Utilities & Infrastructure (EGL )
Herald (HRI )
TR Property (TRY )

Marcus Phayre-Mudge’s TR Property is going for a record fourth win. Specialist Equities is one of a few categories where we combine trusts from different sectors, which is why it is competing with tech-focused Herald and utilities specialist Ecofin. Our award goes to the trust with the best return relative to its benchmark index, not necessarily the one with the highest overall return. 

UK All Companies

Baillie Gifford UK Growth (BGUK )
Henderson Opportunities Trust (HOT )
Invesco Select UK Equity (IVPU )

The three-year returns of UK equity trusts have improved dramatically in the rebound from last year’s coronavirus crash. Last year’s winner, Baillie Gifford, needs to beat off a rejuvenated performance from Henderson and Invesco to clinch the title again.

UK Equity Income

Diverse Income Trust (DIVI )
Dunedin Income Growth (DIG )
Law Debenture (LWDB )
Murray Income Trust (MUT )

The competition is definitely hotting up in this core sector. After winning three years in a row, Nick Train’s Finsbury Growth & Income (FGT) was beaten by Murray Income last year and isn’t shortlisted this year. Instead, Murray needs to outpace stable mate Dunedin, which is also managed by the abrdn group, and Diverse Income and Law Debenture which have risen quickly through the ranks.

UK Smaller Companies

BlackRock Throgmorton (THRG )
Henderson Smaller Companies (HSL )
Invesco Perpetual UK Smaller Companies (IPU )
JPMorgan UK Smaller Companies (JMI )
Mercantile (MRC )

BlackRock’s Dan Whitestone would love to pick up the award again after relinquishing it to JPMorgan UK Smaller last year. Up against them both are Janus Henderson, Invesco and JPMorgan’s mid-cap fund Mercantile. 

Global Multi-Asset

Invesco Select Balanced Risk Allocation (IVPB )
Lindsell Train (LTI )
Momentum Multi-Asset Value Trust (MAVT )
RIT Capital Partners (RCP )
Ruffer Investment Company (RICA )

There is a strong defensive streak to trusts in this group, which has made some very popular after the turmoil of the pandemic. Who has done the best? We have got a clear winner for the absolute return fund that has added the most investment value compared to its stock market benchmark.

Infrastructure

3i Infrastructure (3IN )
BBGI Global Infrastructure (BBGI )
The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG )

The extreme volatility of equity and commodity markets in the past two years has put even the ‘steady Eddie’ reputation of infrastructure funds to the test. We’ve tweaked our methodology this year. Instead of looking at the simple underlying performance in net asset values, which we did previously, we have calculated the three-year risk-adjusted return against cash (as measured by the Sharpe ratio). Where does that leave three-time winner 3iN and BBGI and TRIG? You will have to wait and find out!

Private Equity

BMO Private Equity Trust (BPET )
HgCapital Trust (HGT )
Oakley Capital Investments (OCI )

We continue to rely on three-year NAV figures up to the end of August for our Private Equity and two property awards (see below). HgCapital unseated 3i Group (III) last year after it ran off with the award for three years but will need to surpass BMO and Oakley to do so again this year.  

Property Specialist 

GCP Student Living (DIGS )
LXI Reit (LXI )
Tritax Big Box (BBOX )
Urban Logistics (SHED )
Warehouse Reit (WHR )

The strength of the logistics market since the pandemic pushed the world online is underlined by the presence of three warehouse investors in our five-strong shortlist (BBOX, SHED and WHR). Student fund DIGS is hoping for a final happy swan song before it is gobbled up by a Blackstone-led consortium, while long-lease Reit LXI will also want the last laugh.

UK Property

AEW UK Reit (AEWU )
Custodian Reit (CREI )
Picton Property Income (PCTN )
Standard Life Investments Property Income (SLI )

The state of near panic in commercial property last year has been replaced by cautious optimism as landlords see most tenants returning to some kind of normality. We have four real estate investment trusts looking to cap a difficult 18 months with a Citywire award, including last year’s winner AEW UK.

Specialist Debt

Blackstone Loan Financing (BGLF )
GCP Asset Backed Income (GABI )
Henderson Diversified Income (HDIV )
ICG-Longbow Senior Secured UK Property Debt (LBOW )
Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income (SEQI )

We’re using the same Sharpe ratio analysis as in Private Equity to pick out the winner from the three-year records of our assortment of debt and lending funds. Rising interest rates and inflation are a bad backdrop for conventional bond funds but this lot are different from the crowd and will believe they can maintain good returns if they can pick the right borrowers to lend to.

Best Board! 

The complications of lockdown meant we did not declare a winner of the Best Board award last year. We’re making good this time with a very interesting choice for the investment trust board our judges made the best efforts for their shareholders. There’s no shortlist as there was just one outright winner in the opinion of our experts. All will be revealed after 10 November!

 

 

 

 

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