ISA millionaires

The 32 investment trusts that would have made you £1,000,000.

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A total of 32 investment trusts would have made investors more than £1 million if they had invested the full annual ISA allowance in the same trust each year, according to new research from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

Investing the full ISA allowance annually from 1999 to 2023, a total of £306,560, and reinvesting the dividends into either of the two top performers, HgCapital Trust and Allianz Technology Trust, would have generated a tax-free pot of over £2 million by 31 January 2024. 

Technology is a strong theme among the top four trusts, with the fifth investing in Asian smaller companies. HgCapital Trust, which invests in unquoted software and technology services businesses, returned £2,254,391. Allianz Technology Trust and Polar Capital Technology, which both invest in a global portfolio of technology companies, returned £2,095,955 and £1,912,656 respectively. Scottish Mortgage, a global trust with a growth-focused mandate, returned £1,639,261. Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies, which returned £1,538,589, invests mainly in smaller Asian quoted companies.

Two of the top five performers – HgCapital Trust and Scottish Mortgage – invest at least part of their portfolio in unquoted companies

Among the 32 “ISA millionaire” investment trusts (see table below), 12 focus on smaller companies. Four of them are from the UK Smaller Companies sector with BlackRock Throgmorton Trust performing best of these, returning £1,214,138 to take tenth place in the table. Three of the “ISA millionaire” investment trusts are from the Asia Pacific Smaller Companies sector, of which the best performing is Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies. A further three are from the European Smaller Companies sector, of which European Smaller Companies is the best performing, returning £1,112,995.

The 32 “ISA millionaire” investment trusts


Trust name

AIC sector

% share price total return

 06/04/1999 to 31/01/2024

Total ISA investment

value at 31/01/2024


HgCapital Trust

Private Equity




Allianz Technology Trust

Technology & Technology Innovation




Polar Capital Technology

Technology & Technology Innovation




Scottish Mortgage





Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies

Asia Pacific Smaller Companies




abrdn Asia Focus

Asia Pacific Smaller Companies




JPMorgan American

North America




Pacific Horizon Investment Trust

Asia Pacific




JPMorgan Global Growth & Income

Global Equity Income




BlackRock Throgmorton Trust

UK Smaller Companies




Worldwide Healthcare Trust

Biotechnology & Healthcare




International Biotechnology

Biotechnology & Healthcare




Fidelity European Trust





Biotech Growth Trust

Biotechnology & Healthcare




Canadian General Investments

North America




BlackRock Smaller Companies

UK Smaller Companies




Mid Wynd International





Rights & Issues Investment Trust

UK Smaller Companies




JPMorgan UK Smaller Companies

UK Smaller Companies




European Smaller Companies

European Smaller Companies




JPMorgan European Discovery

European Smaller Companies




JPMorgan US Smaller Companies

North American Smaller Companies




Herald Investment Trust

Global Smaller Companies




JPMorgan Indian

India/Indian Subcontinent




Montanaro European Smaller Companies

European Smaller Companies




ICG Enterprise Trust

Private Equity




AVI Global Trust





Fidelity Asian Values

Asia Pacific Smaller Companies




BlackRock World Mining Trust

Commodities & Natural Resources




Pantheon International

Private Equity




F&C Investment Trust





Henderson European Focus Trust




Source: / Morningstar. % share price total return is for a single lump sum invested at the beginning of the period. Total ISA investment value is the total value of an investment on 31/01/2024 if the maximum ISA limit for each year had been invested annually from 1999 to 2023, with the investment being made on 6 April each year.

Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “It’s been a challenging time for investors recently, with high inflation coupled with geopolitical tensions and an uncertain outlook.

“In difficult times, it’s important for investors to take a long-term approach to their investments. Investment trusts have been in existence for more than 155 years, surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression, the 1970s era of high inflation, the tech boom (and bust), the financial crisis and the pandemic. They have a fixed pool of capital which means investment trust managers can take a long-term view of their portfolio, holding on to assets during market downturns, rather than being forced to sell them at cheap prices.


“Despite the current challenging economic environment, 32 investment trusts would have returned more than £1 million for ISA savers who invested their entire allowance each year since 1999 – with two returning more than £2 million.”


Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC)


“Our research shows that despite the current challenging economic environment, 32 investment trusts would have returned more than £1 million for ISA savers who invested their entire allowance each year since 1999 – with two returning more than £2 million. When investing, it’s vital to spread your risk, as no-one knows which will be the best performing investment trusts in the future. A diversified portfolio which meets your needs is the best way to success over the long-term. If investors are in doubt about which trust is right for them, it’s important to speak to a financial adviser.”

Comments from the top three performers

Jim Strang, Chairman of HgCapital Trust (HgT), said: “It is very heartening that the company has been able to deliver such compelling gains for shareholders over the last 25 years. This is a solid endorsement of the private equity model and the skill and expertise that the Manager, Hg, has employed so successfully over this time.

HgT provides shareholders with unique listed access to the investment portfolio of Hg. The performance that HgT has delivered has come from the continual refinement and focus on a clear investment model implemented by Hg, targeting software and services leaders that transform how people work.

“These companies typically benefit from strong recurring revenue streams and high margins, and operate in fragmented markets, allowing growth to be accelerated further via M&A. Hg strives to do the same thing better, every time.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Hg in order to maximise returns for HgT shareholders.”

Mike Seidenberg, Portfolio Manager of Allianz Technology Trust, said: “It is fantastic to see Allianz Technology Trust near the top of this list, knowing our investment process has driven strong returns for our shareholders over the long term. As we often remind investors, we are arguably living in the golden era of technology where companies across most industries become relevant or irrelevant depending on their adoption and use of technology.

"Meeting with your customers digitally – for both businesses and consumers – is paramount, particularly in a post-pandemic era. Identifying companies solving some of the world’s most difficult problems (such as global warming, access to and processing of data, cybersecurity, etc.) is germane to the Allianz Technology Trust investment process. Our team-oriented approach has identified secular themes over multiple years and cycles and, through a rigorous investment process, our goal is to continue doing so going forward. Technology has and should continue to create unique advantages, and Allianz Technology Trust’s job is to identify the risk/reward of these companies for our shareholders.”

Ben Rogoff, Lead Manager of Polar Capital Technology Trust, said: “We focus on identifying key technology themes and companies exposed to important secular trends, while doing our best to avoid hubris – which is more difficult than it sounds when investing in a sector where hype cycles are endemic! For us, that means avoiding both early-stage investments and ‘cheap’ value stocks as well as constructing diversified portfolios that combine our highest conviction ideas with the best the index has to offer. This approach has worked well for us over the past two decades, allowing us to participate in most, if not all, of the sector’s biggest success stories.

“We have one of the largest and most experienced technology teams in Europe which means that as new major trends emerge and others fade, we are able to assess likely impacts, undertake rigorous fundamental analysis, and exploit these opportunities. Today, excitement has coalesced around artificial intelligence, a theme that we have been focused on for more than six years. We believe AI will become the next general-purpose technology, akin to steel, electricity, and the combustion engine. As such we meaningfully increased our exposure to AI during 2023 as we believe it represents a key moment in the technology sector, akin to the internet in the 1990s.”


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Notes to editors

  1. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) represents a broad range of investment trusts and VCTs. The AIC’s vision is for closed-ended investment companies to be understood and considered by every investor. The AIC has 336 members and the industry has total assets of approximately £267 billion.
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