The changing face of investment trusts

How the industry has changed since 1999.

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The investment trust industry has seen great change over the course of the 21st century so far, new analysis from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) reveals.

At the end of 1999, 88% of investment trust assets were invested in equities and only 12% in alternatives (mostly private equity)1.

Today2, the split is much more even, with 54% of investment trust assets in equities and 46% in alternatives, including significant allocations to private equity (14%), infrastructure (13%) and property (9%). Debt funds make up 3% of industry assets and venture capital trusts (VCTs)3 make up 2%.


CEI equit vs alt

Source: / Morningstar


Industry assets have increased from £78 billion at the end of the 20th century to £267 billion today. There are currently 365 investment trusts including VCTs, versus 334 at the end of 1999.

The average size of an investment trust has increased from £233 million in 1999 to £735 million today, measured by total assets. The number of investment trusts with more than £1 billion of total assets has increased from ten in 1999 to 76 today and has also doubled over the past seven years due to investment growth, fundraising and mergers.

Investment trusts now make up 92 of the FTSE 250, more than a third of the index. In contrast, only 38 investment trusts were members of the FTSE 250 at the end of 2002, less than one sixth of the mid-cap benchmark.

Four investment trusts are in the FTSE 100, compared to one in 1999.

Richard Stone, Chief Executive of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “The investment trust landscape has been completely reshaped since the turn of the millennium. An industry that was focused predominantly on equity investments has now branched out into a broader range of alternative asset classes. Nearly half of investment company assets are now invested in alternatives, including many that barely featured in 1999 such as infrastructure, direct property and private debt. 


“Since 1868, investment trusts have proven their ability to evolve to meet investor needs, and this continues today.”

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

richard stone

“The demand for larger, more liquid investment trusts has seen the average size of an investment trust increase, a trend that has gathered pace over the past decade.

“Since 1868, investment trusts have proven their ability to evolve to meet investor needs, and this continues today.” 

Asset cat

Source: / Morningstar


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Notes to editors

  1. “Equities” and “alternatives” are defined at an AIC sector level, with each AIC sector assigned to one of those asset types according to the investment mandates and portfolios of investment trusts in that sector. “Equities” in this context includes the Flexible Investment sector and some specialist equity sectors.
  2. Current data is from 31 December 2023. 
  3. VCTs became part of the AIC universe in 2006.
  4. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) represents a broad range of investment trusts and VCTs, collectively known as investment companies. 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.
  5. For more information about the AIC and investment trusts, visit the AIC’s website.
  6. Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release does not constitute investment advice or personal recommendation and it is not an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity. You should seek independent financial and, if appropriate, legal advice as to the suitability of any investment decision. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.  The value of investment company shares, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise.  You may not get back the full amount invested and, in some cases, nothing at all.
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