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Which investment company invests in 37 countries?

14 October 2019

AIC publishes top 20 investment companies by country exposure.

Investment companies allow investors to make a single investment which is spread across lots of different stocks, sectors and countries. Spreading your investment like this enables you to capture growth and income from a range of sources and reduce risk by putting your eggs in a variety of baskets. It’s a timely topic as trade tensions, concerns about growth and political pressures have made markets nervous.

At this time of market uncertainty, the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has published a list of the 20 investment companies with the most countries represented in their portfolios.

Topping the list are F&C (1st) and Witan (2nd) from the Global sector whose portfolios are diversified across an impressive 37 and 36 different countries respectively.

Completing the top five is Genesis Emerging Markets (3rd) which is invested in 32 countries, followed by Aberdeen Emerging Markets (4th) and Utilico Emerging Markets (5th) both with exposure to 26 countries.1

It’s not unexpected that investment companies from the Global Emerging Markets and Global sectors make up the biggest proportion of the list with eight and four companies respectively.

However, investors might be surprised to learn that specialist investment companies from the Environmental and Financials sectors are so widely diversified by country. Jupiter Green (17th) and Impax Environmental Markets (18th) from the Environmental sector appear in the top 20, both investing across 20 different countries, as does Polar Capital Global Financials (11th).

Andrew Bell, Chief Executive Officer of Witan, said: “Linkages between economies mean that much of the time equity markets move in the same direction. But the size of the moves vary, particularly taking into account currency moves, and sometimes political developments have enduring effects – witness the multi-year underperformance of the UK since the Brexit referendum. Diversifying internationally is a way to control investment risk (especially if you live in a mature economy with a historically declining currency, such as the UK). However, the objective of equity investment is to deliver the fruits of economic growth – diversification helps to reduce investor nerves in troubled times but shouldn’t be the driving force. Witan’s aim in investing is to find companies worldwide whose growth prospects and valuation offer attractive returns for our shareholders, in terms of rising dividends and capital growth.

“At present, concerns over Brexit, US-China trade relations and conflict in the Middle East are depressing economic confidence and have encouraged a lemming-like rush into government bonds yielding less than diddly-squat. The risks are real and things might go horribly wrong, but they might not.

“Today’s worries seem no worse than the tribulations of the Cold War or past periods of rising interest rates or oil prices. Following the 2008 financial crisis banks are more tightly regulated and better capitalised, interest rates are low and, on average, declining, and there is now an increasing switch towards looser fiscal policy, which ultra-low borrowing rates have made financeable and therefore tempting for politicians.

“At some point, markets are likely to shift their focus from the depressive effects of current policy conundrums towards the monetary and fiscal policy response. If you focus on the rear-view mirror or the rain hitting the windscreen you are likely to collide with a lamp post. In investing, as in driving, it pays to look ahead if you want to make progress.”

Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “With the news bringing more reasons to worry than to celebrate, many investors might take comfort from knowing their investments are spread across a wide range of different countries. The ability to spread your investment across a variety of companies, countries and sectors is one of the biggest benefits of collective investments, such as investment companies. Different countries will have varying economic and political environments as well as different strengths and weaknesses, so investing in a good spread of regions can make sense.

“It’s not surprising to see big, global investment companies top the list, investing in as many as 37 different countries. However, it’s interesting that some investment companies with strong sector specialisms, such as environmental or financials, are so diversified by country.”

Top 20 investment companies by country exposure1

No.

Company

AIC sector

Largest single country exposure

Number of countries invested in

Data as at

1

F&C

Global

52% - USA

37

31/08/2019

2

Witan

Global

35% - UK

36

31/08/2019

3

Genesis Emerging Markets

Global Emerging Markets

25% - China

32

31/03/2019

4

Aberdeen Emerging Markets

Global Emerging Markets

24% - China

26

31/08/2019

5

Utilico Emerging Markets

Global Emerging Markets

26% - Brazil

26

31/08/2019

6

Alliance Trust

Global

47% - USA

26

31/08/2019

7

Murray International

Global Equity Income

14% - USA

25

31/08/2019

8

Aberdeen Frontier Markets

Global Emerging Markets

26% - Vietnam

24

31/08/2019

9

Bankers

Global

32% - USA

24

31/08/2019

10

BlackRock Frontiers

Global Emerging Markets

11% - Indonesia

23

31/08/2019

11

Polar Capital Global Financials

Financials

40% - USA

23

31/03/2019

12

Caledonia

Flexible Investment

40% - UK

23

31/08/2019

13

Jupiter Emerging & Frontier Income

Global Emerging Markets

14% - Cayman Islands

22

31/05/2019

14

JPMorgan Global Emerging Markets Income

Global Emerging Markets

21% - China

20

31/08/2019

15

Templeton Emerging Markets

Global Emerging Markets

24% - China

20

31/08/2019

16

Henderson International Income

Global Equity Income

29% - USA

20

31/08/2019

17

Jupiter Green

Environmental

30% - USA

20

31/08/2019

18

Impax Environmental Markets

Environmental

43% - USA

20

31/08/2019

19

Herald

Global Smaller Companies

51% - UK

19

31/08/2019

20

Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus

Asia Pacific Smaller Companies

14% - Thailand

18

31/08/2019

-Ends-

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Notes

  1. The investment companies have been ranked by the number of countries their portfolios are invested in. Where companies have the same number of countries, they have been ranked by the size of their largest single country exposure, ascending from low to high.
  2. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) was founded in 1932 to represent the interests of the investment trust industry – the oldest form of collective investment.  Today, the AIC represents a broad range of closed-ended investment companies, incorporating investment trusts and other closed-ended investment companies and VCTs. The AIC’s members believe that the industry is best served if it is united and speaks with one voice. The AIC’s mission statement is to help members add value for shareholders over the longer term. The AIC has 363 members and the industry has total assets of approximately £197 billion.
  3. 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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Media enquiries

Annabel Brodie-Smith
Communications Director
Tel: 020 7282 5580
annabel.brodie-smith@theaic.co.uk
@annabelbrodies
@aicpress

Elmley de la Cour
Communications Manager
Tel: 020 7282 5583
elmley.delacour@theaic.co.uk
@aicpress

William Sanderson
Communications Executive
Tel: 020 7282 5584
william.sanderson@theaic.co.uk
@aicpress