Interactive Investor

Top 10 most-popular investment trusts: March 2024

Two ongoing key trends are investors going global and seeking out income strategies with attractive yields.

2nd April 2024 13:33

Kyle Caldwell from interactive investor

In the run-up to tax year end, there’s been little change in our investment trust league table, demonstrating that investors are sticking with familiar strategies rather than going off-piste.

The rankings are based on the number of buys among interactive investor customers in March.

There’s just one new entrant this month, F&C Investment Trust (LSE:FCIT). The UK’s oldest investment trust is no stranger to the top 10 and last appeared in October. The global multi-manager strategy, which is highly diversified with more than 400 holdings, has lagged behind rival Alliance Trust over the past one and three years. One headwind has been caution around valuations for US technology companies.

Going global is a key ongoing theme among our customers. In March, seven of the top 10 funds invest globally, while six investment trusts have global approaches.  

Alliance Trust (LSE:ATST), which also invests globally and adopts a multi-manager approach, has climbed up the table from fifth to second place. Performance has been solid under the management of Willis Towers Watson since March 2017, and the trust has benefited from not being wedded to a particular investment style.

Another investment trust enjoying strong performance from being style neutral is JPMorgan Global Growth & Income Ord (LSE:JGGI), unchanged in third place.

In a recent interview with interactive investor, co-manager James Cook outlined key performance drivers for the best ideas trust, which has comfortably outpaced the global index over the past five years. Cook also explained that artificial intelligence (AI) is a key theme for the portfolio, naming the four US technology shares held from the Magnificent Seven”.

Topping the table is Scottish Mortgage (LSE:SMT), an investment trust with a clear style that focuses on high-growth companies capitalising on technological advancements. Over three years, its investment style has been out of favour due to rising interest rates, with its share price total return showing a loss of nearly 20%.

Over one year, Scottish Mortgage’s returns are more favourable, up 38.4%. Its performance turnaround stems from technology stocks returning to form amid excitement over the future potential of advancements in AI. In addition, its recently announced £2 billion share buyback plan over the next two years, has been warmly welcomed, boosting its share price and reducing its discount to net asset value (NAV) from -15% to -4.5%.

Also of note is news that US activist investor Elliott has built up a 5% stake in Scottish Mortgage. While it remains to be seen what Elliott’s intensions are, the presence of an activist investor could be viewed positively as the firm will be looking to make the most out of its stake.

Fourth in the table is Greencoat UK Wind (LSE:UKW). It has a stellar dividend track record, having grown payouts ahead of RPI inflation each year over the past decade. It offers a dividend yield of 7.4% and recently increased its target dividend for 2024 to 10 pence per share, above the Retail Prices Index for December 2023.

Its share price is trading on a discount to NAV of -14.8%. The discount shows that some investors are not prepared to take on the extra level of risk to achieve a higher yield when low-risk bonds are yielding around 5%.

As our columnist Ian Cowie recently pointed out, while the past is not necessarily a guide to the future, if Greencoat UK Wind continues its historic dividend track record it would double shareholders’ income in less than nine years.

Two trusts entirely focused on technology stocks, Polar Capital Technology (LSE:PCT) and Allianz Technology Trust (LSE:ATT), are in fifth and sixth place respectively. The duo are the top performers in the top 10 over one year, with Allianz Technology having a slight edge in being up 59.4% versus 54.1% for Polar Capital Technology.

Theres little to separate them in performance terms, and the same is true for their discounts. At present, both are trading on a discount of around -10%. For those who think the AI theme has plenty of staying power, the tech trust duo offer investors a cheaper entry point to gain exposure to an area that has seen both share prices and valuations sizzle.  

In seventh place is City of London. Managed by Job Curtis since 1991, this trust predominately invests in dividend-paying FTSE 100 firms. Curtis adopts a conservative approach by focusing on companies with good cash generation. City has raised its dividend for 57 years in a row, making it one of 10 investment trusts with a track record of more than 50 years of income increases. It has a market-beating dividend yield of around 5%. 

In eighth place is India Capital Growth (LSE:IGC). India’s stock market has been a strong performer over the past couple of years. The trust recently reported its annual results in which it said that “2023 was a year when every sector contributed positively to the performance of the portfolio. This reflects the broad-based nature of the economic recovery.”

Pershing Square Holdings (LSE:PSH) rounds off the table in 10th place. It is managed by star investor Bill Ackman, who oversees a concentrated portfolio of US-listed stocks. Despite Ackman’s strong track record, with the trust up 220.8% over the past five years against 164.1% for the North America sector, Pershing Square consistently trades on a big discount, which is -25.2% at present. In an attempt to reduce the discount, the board has been one of the most active in buying back its own shares.

Exiting the top 10 is BlackRock World Mining Trust (LSE:BRWM). Its short-term performance, down -17.8% over one year, has been hurt by interest rate rises. Another headwind has been the failure of China’s economy to rebound after the reversal of Covid-19 restrictions. Both rate rises and China’s slow recovery have been headwinds for commodity demand. 

Top 10 most-popular investment trusts in March 2024 

Investment trust Change from February One-year return to 28 March 2024 (%)Three-year return to 28 March 2024 (%) 
Scottish Mortgage No change 38.4-19.8
Alliance Trust Up three 31.242.6
JPMorgan Global Growth & Income No change 29.352.2
Greencoat UK Wind Down one -4.728.3
Polar Capital Technology Down one 54.138.8
Allianz Technology Up one 59.432.6
City of London Up two 3.922.4
India Capital Growth Up two 36.971.6
F&C Investment Trust New entry 12.331.3
Pershing Square Holdings Down four 48.565.6

Performance data sourced from FE Fundinfo. Performance data to 28 March 2024. Rankings are based on the number of “buys” during March 2024.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.