Investment trust H1 2024 review

Record levels of mergers and buybacks.

Listing image

There has been a whirlwind of corporate activity in the first half of 2024 as investment trust boards have battled wide discounts, the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) reveals1.

Six mergers between investment trusts mean that 2024 is already a record year. The previous record was five mergers in both 2021 and 2022.

Buybacks in the first five months of the year totalled £3.0bn, up from £1.3bn in the same period of 2023 – an increase of 129%, according to Winterflood. This means that 2024 looks likely to beat the record for buybacks set in 2023 (£3.9bn for the entire calendar year).

While there was only one liquidation during the period – Asian Energy Impact Trust – seven trusts approved plans to realise their assets and return capital to shareholders. These are abrdn Diversified Income & Growth, abrdn Property Income, Digital 9 Infrastructure, Downing Strategic Micro-Cap, GCP Asset Backed Income, Riverstone Credit Opportunities Income and Triple Point Energy Transition.

Investment trust boards were active in negotiating lower fees for shareholders. A total of 18 trusts made fee changes to benefit shareholders, including 11 reductions in base fee and nine reductions to tiered fees (more than one type of fee change may happen at the same time).

Though the average industry discount narrowed from 9.7% on the last day of 2023 to 6.2% at the end of June 2024, these figures are skewed by 3i Group, which trades at a hefty premium. Excluding 3i, the average industry discount widened from 13.8% to 15.0% over the period.

Despite this weak investor sentiment, performance was relatively strong over the six-month period, with the average investment trust1 returning 7.7% on a share price total return basis.

Fundraising was subdued. There were no initial public offerings (IPOs) in the first half of the year, and £413m was raised in secondary fundraising2 (i.e. by existing investment trusts). More than half of this, £266m, was raised by JPMorgan Global Growth & Income, with Ashoka India Equity raising £78m and Invesco Bond Income Plus raising £24m.

“Activity in the investment trust sector remains elevated, with boards prepared to consider all options to deliver value for shareholders.”

Richard Stone, Chief Executive of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC)

Richard Stone headshot


Six mergers were completed in the first half of the year, meaning that 2024 is a record year for mergers already.

2024Merged companies (continuing company in bold)AIC sector

Henderson High Income

Henderson Diversified Income

UK Equity & Bond Income
Debt – Loans & Bonds

JPMorgan UK Smaller Companies

JPMorgan Mid Cap

UK Smaller Companies

UK All Companies


Fidelity China Special Situations

abrdn China

China / Greater China

China / Greater China


JPMorgan Global Growth & Income

JPMorgan Multi-Asset Growth & Income

Global Equity Income

Flexible Investment


STS Global Income & Growth

Troy Income & Growth

Global Equity Income

UK Equity Income


Tritax Big Box REIT

UK Commercial Property REIT

Property – UK Logistics

Property – UK Commercial

A seventh merger is scheduled to complete soon, the merger of Henderson European Focus and Henderson EuroTrust, with the former being the continuing company. A merger of Alliance Trust and Witan to create a new combined company called Alliance Witan is also in the pipeline, provided shareholders of both trusts approve the deal.

Management changes

One trust changed its manager in the first half of the year. A second manager change is expected to become effective in the third quarter, with North American Income Trust moving from abrdn to Janus Henderson.

2024Investment trustNew management groupAIC sectorPrevious management group
AprChrysalis InvestmentsG10 CapitalGrowth CapitalJupiter Unit Trust Managers


There was one liquidation in the first half of 2024, although as noted above, there are a number of investment trusts in the process of winding up or seeking shareholder approval to do so.

2024Investment trustManagement groupAIC sector
JunAsian Energy Impact TrustOctopus Energy GenerationRenewable Energy Infrastructure

Richard Stone, Chief Executive of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “Activity in the investment trust sector remains elevated, with boards prepared to consider all options to deliver value for shareholders. Mergers and buybacks are at record levels and many strategic reviews have been announced, with some trusts deciding to return capital to shareholders.

“The investment trust sector has always evolved through challenging markets, and this is one of those times where we are seeing that in action. While discounts remain wide, it’s encouraging to see that performance for the first half of the year has been strong – the most important measure of success for our sector.”