Interactive Investor

Analyst reveals its top investment trust ideas for 2024

Winterflood lists 37 trusts it expects to outperform their peers due to portfolio performance and discount changes.

16th January 2024 09:47

Sam Benstead from interactive investor

Investment trusts had a difficult time in 2023, delivering a share price total return of 4.9%, underperforming the broader UK market, which was up 7.9% on a total return basis.

While better than the 16.6% average loss in 2023, trust investors were still hindered by widening discounts and would have been better served by most equity tracker funds.  

But Winterflood, the stockbroker, is optimistic as we enter a more benign macroeconomic backdrop. It has named 37 investment trusts it expects to outperform their benchmarks over the next two years.  

As of 9 January, it says that the average discount of our recommended funds is 15.1%, with 21 of the names trading on double-digit discounts.  

The average market cap is £1.2 billion, with no funds having a market cap below £100 million. The average historical dividend yield of the recommended funds is 3.3%. 

Winterflood says the following investment trusts are well placed to outperform their peers on an 18 to 24-month view through a narrowing of the discount and/or outperformance of the underlying portfolio.

TrustSectorDiscount (%)
Scottish MortgageGlobal Equities-11.6
JPMorgan Global Growth & IncomeGlobal Equities0.6
Fidelity Special ValuesUK Equities-8.6
Finsbury Growth & IncomeUK Equities-6.5
Law Debenture CorporationUK Equities-1.5
JPMorgan UK Smaller CompaniesUK Equities-10.3
Odyssean Investment TrustUK Equities2.6
Pershing Square Holdings North American Equities-31.8
Fidelity European TrustEuropean Equities-7.9
Pacific Horizon Asia Pacific Equities-11.2
Fidelity China Special Situations Asia Pacific Equities-10.2
BlackRock FrontiersEmerging Markets Equities-8.6
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Japanese Equities-9.9
JPMorgan Japanese  Japanese Equities-8.6
Nippon Active ValueSpecialist Equities-3.1
Allianz Technology TrustSpecialist Equities-12.7
BlackRock Energy & Resources Income Specialist Equities-10.4
Impax Environmental MarketsSpecialist Equities-9.8
RTW Biotech OpportunitiesSpecialist Equities-16.2
Worldwide Healthcare Specialist Equities-12.2
Caledonia InvestmentsCapital Preservation-32.1
BioPharma CreditDebt-6.5
CVC Income & GrowthDebt-5.6
Invesco Bond Income Plus Debt1.8
HgCapital TrustPrivate Equity-13.4
Oakley Capital InvestmentsPrivate Equity-28.7
Pantheon InternationalPrivate Equity

-35.2

Seraphim Space Investment Trust Private Equity
 
-56.1
 
Schroder Real Estate Property-31.5
 
Impact Healthcare REIT
 
Property
 
-21.9
 
Urban Logistics REIT
 
Property
 
-23.5
 
TR Property Property
 
-7.3
 
Cordiant Digital InfrastructureInfrastructure
 
-32
 
BBGI Global Infrastructure
 
Infrastructure
 
-6.9
 
JLEN Environmental Assets
 
Infrastructure
 
-25.5
 
Downing Renewables & InfrastructureInfrastructure
 
-15.7
 
Gresham House Energy Storage
 
Infrastructure
 
-30.8
 

Source: Winterflood/Bloomberg, 5 January 2024. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

We look at the investment case for a number of the key trusts recommended.  

Scottish Mortgage

This global trust, which buys innovative and fast-growing firms, re-enters Winterflood’s recommended list after Scottish Mortgage (LSE:SMT) was dropped in favour of Monks (LSE:MNKS) at the beginning of 2023.  

The broker says the current discount of 12% offers value and “there is scope for a notable re-rating and significant pick-up in performance in a more stable interest rate environment, especially if sentiment towards private markets improves”. 

Winterflood adds: “The managers’ high-conviction approach and significant allocation to unlisted equities makes good use of the closed-ended fund structure. However, there will be times when the team’s views are at odds with the market and this could result in volatile performance, of which investors should be cognisant. 

“Nevertheless, we remain confident that Scottish Mortgage is well-placed to outperform over the long term, and should be a key beneficiary of any re-opening of the IPO market, as it is exposed to several anticipated IPO candidates.” 

HgCapital Trust

Private equity investor HgCapital Trust (LSE:HGT) is one of the best-performing trusts of the past 20 years, but higher interest rates since late 2021 have harmed its long-term record.  

The managers target mid-sized “business-critical” technology companies with recurring revenues and high margins, according to Winterflood.  

The analyst said: “The fund has an excellent long-term track record, comfortably outperforming the FTSE All-Share index over the last 10 years.  

“While there remains some investor scepticism with respect to the accuracy of private valuations, the average exit uplift was +31% across £323 million of realisation proceeds in 2023 to 30 September.   

“HGT’s consistent track record of realising assets at uplifts to NAV should provide some comfort with respect to the quality of the underlying assets in the portfolio.” 

Finsbury Growth & Income

The last two years have been difficult for Nick Train’s Finsbury Growth & Income (LSE:FGT) trust, with its share price and net asset value (NAV) underperforming both the benchmark and the UK Equity Income peer group. 

However, Winterflood still rates Train’s investment approach of buying companies with pricing power and holding on to them for the long term.

It says: “We also think that the emphasis on ‘durable, conservatively financed and steadily compounding companies’ will allow Finsbury Growth & Income to continue to generate outperformance, including in weak economic environments, as may well be the case this year.” 

Allianz Technology Trust 

Technology was one of the standout themes in 2023, but Winterflood reckons the investment sector has more to give this year.  

Allianz Technology Trust (LSE:ATT) has a bias towards mid-cap companies, and despite its underweight to giant tech shares it managed to stay close to benchmark performance, with a NAV total return of 45%.  

Winterflood says: “We credit this to the team’s unconstrained and active investment approach, as well as the increased focus on cash generation and operational execution under Mike Seidenberg.  

“Looking forward, the portfolio remains positioned to benefit from secular trends in artificial intelligence, semiconductors, cloud and cybersecurity. We believe that the fund has the potential to outperform once market leadership disperses across the market cap spectrum, with interest rate reductions a plausible trigger.” 

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