Interactive Investor

Ruffer founder sells half his shares in investment trust

The sale follows strong returns from the trust’s bitcoin investments, which were held for six months.

3rd November 2021 12:48

Tom Bailey from interactive investor

The sale follows strong returns from the trust’s bitcoin investments, which were held for just six months.

Jonathan Ruffer has sold more than half his shares in Ruffer Investment Company (LSE:RICA), according to a recent stock market filing.

Ruffer is the former manager of Ruffer Investment Company. According to the filing, he sold a total of 540,000 shares, leaving him with 499,335 shares. His remaining holdings are currently valued at £1.52 million, representing 0.2% of the trust’s shares in existence. The proceeds of the sale will be used for charitable purposes.

The sale comes after a fairly strong year for the trust. On a one-year basis, Ruffer Investment Company has returned 29.9%. That was ahead of the Association of Investment Companies’ (AIC) Flexible Investments sector average return of 22.9%.

However, the one-year performance of the trust was below that of the FTSE All-Share index, which returned 36.3% over the same period. Being a defensive trust, with investments in assets such as index-linked bonds, it can be expected to lag the market when share prices are rising.

Ruffer Investment Company netted strong returns this year mainly from its bet on bitcoin. Towards the end of 2020, the trust announced it had built a position in the cryptocurrency. The trust’s managers, Hamish Baillie and Duncan MacInnes, argued that it was an uncorrelated asset and also a potential hedge against inflation. However, in April the trust sold out of its position, citing fears that bitcoin’s price was now too speculative. The sale netted the trust around £320 million.

Ruffer also stressed that the filing was not a regulatory requirement but “was felt by the directors of the Company to be of interest to shareholders”.

In June, interactive investor called on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to introduce rules requiring fund managers to say how much they have invested in the funds and investment trusts they manage.

There is no requirement for fund managers – of either funds or investment trusts – to make this information available to retail investors, while in the US ‘skin in the game’ disclosure is a requirement.

For investment trusts, there is a requirement for the disclosure of personal investments made by board members.

interactive investor has been polling the active managers of its Super 60 and ACE 40 rated funds, requesting ‘skin in the game’ disclosure, covering 82 funds and investment trusts in total, including passive funds run by Vanguard (which have a skin in the game policy).

It is a question that, since the start of July, the editorial team has been asking fund managers who appear on our Funds Fan podcast and Fund Insider video series.

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