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Nick Britton blog: On the move

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22 May 2015

Nick Britton, Head of Training, AIC.

I’ve always enjoyed being on the move, which is just as well because the AIC adviser seminar trail is taking place in ten different parts of the UK this year.  This is the fourth year of our seminar programme, but speaking for myself, my first chance to travel (almost) the length and breadth of the country to meet many of you and chat to you about investment trusts.

I appreciate that, for many, this wouldn’t be a dream job. Train delays, tiredness, and the cumulative effect on your body of the copious quantities of coffee and junk food you inevitably consume whilst on the road, can dull the excitement of another trip. But getting out there to meet new people and see new places certainly beats being stuck in the office all week.

Our itinerary includes the essential stops – Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester – but also a few extras such as Reading, Colchester and Central Bedfordshire, which represent new frontiers for our seminar programme. Wherever you are, we hope you won’t have to travel far to come and meet us.

What’s particularly exciting this year is the high calibre of the fund managers who are speaking at the seminars. Our Manchester event, for example, will feature Job Curtis, manager of the City of London investment trust which has increased its dividends for 48 years in a row – through booms, busts and a credit crisis. Job has been at the helm for more than two decades, and will throw some light on how this record has been achieved and maintained.

In Reading, we have Nick Train of Finsbury Growth & Income Trust. Nick’s performance record speaks for itself, outshining the FTSE All Share over one, three, five and ten years. But he’s also a memorable speaker with a clear and compelling vision of how to make money from the various ways in which the world is changing.

Other high-profile names we’ve secured include Paul Niven of Foreign & Colonial, Alex Wright of Fidelity Special Values, James Henderson of Lowland Investment Company, Gervais Williams of Diverse Income Trust, Bruce Stout of Murray International, Georgina Brittain of JP Morgan UK Mid Cap and Alistair Mundy of Temple Bar. It’s well worth taking a look to see who’s speaking in your area as this is a rare chance to meet some of these managers personally and quiz them on their investment strategies.

Another interesting thing about most of these managers – namely Nick, Alex, James, Gervais, Georgina and Alastair – is that they run both open and closed-ended money, so they are in the perfect position to compare the various pros and cons of funds and investment trusts. Research from Canaccord Genuity has shown that when the same manager runs both open and closed-ended funds with the same mandate, the closed-ended fund tends to outperform over the long-term.

One of the challenges we have in putting together these seminars is the different levels of knowledge in the audience. We want the events to be useful both to those who need a general introduction to investment trusts, and those whose clients’ portfolios are already crammed with them. So each seminar will begin with a short presentation from me covering the basic features of investment trusts, then we’ll move quickly on to more in-depth material.

We also have a number of representatives of wealth management firms speaking at our seminars. This is designed to give advisers a more practical perspective on how investment trusts can actually be used in clients’ portfolios, as well as some tips on how to compare and select them.

If you haven’t yet signed up for one of our seminars, take a look at the full programme. I very much look forward to meeting you on my travels.

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