How the approach of F&C Investment Trust managers ensured the interests of investors were the priority from day one.
Against a 151-year backdrop encompassing wars, recessions, social upheaval and continuous change, F&C Investment Trust has had only 11 managers.
Over the same period, there have been 29 US presidents¹, 38 UK prime ministers² and 12 Popes³ – a role that usually ends only with the death of the incumbent.
Because the Trust has had so few managers over its lifetime, they have all succeeded in making their mark in different ways. Lord Eustace Cecil⁴, for example, introduced corporate bonds in the 1890s, while the first equity purchase of 2,000 shares in Shell Transport & Trading was made under his successor, third manager Arthur Crichton, in July 1925⁵.
Another notable event in the Trust’s history came in 1926, when Archibald Christie, Arthur Crichton’s successor, was investigated by police during the brief but notorious disappearance of his wife, the celebrated crime novelist Agatha Christie.
By the 1970s, Michael Hart – the Trust’s ninth manager – was taking advantage of new opportunities created by an expanding technology sector. He was described in The Times⁶ as “one of the first fund managers who regularly took a look for himself at the companies he considered investing in”. The article added: “He went down South African gold mines and took helicopters to North Sea oil rigs to get a hands-on feel for businesses … ‘I can’t invest in something when I don’t know what they’re doing,’ he said.”
The other constant factor in the Trust’s history has been its managers’ focus on its shareholders. The Trust was established in 1868 by city lawyer Philip Rose, who wanted to provide ordinary people with the means to access stock market investment. Its emphasis on putting investors first continues to this day.
At the time of its launch⁷ F&C Investment Trust had no manager as such – its secretary was responsible for the day-to-day administration. With only 18 holdings and a projected fixed life of 24 years, it is doubtful whether the Trust’s long-term impact could have been envisaged by Philip Rose.
But 151 years later, the manager of F&C Investment Trust continues to carry on his predecessors’ principle of putting investors first. Paul Niven is the 11th and current fund manager of the Trust, one of only three managers in the last 40 years.
Every month, he writes an outlook on financial markets and his perspective on the Trust’s performance. To read his latest market outlook and find out more about Paul, visit the F&C Investment Trust website.
The value of investments and any income from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the original amount invested.
© 2019 BMO Asset Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
¹The White House (July 2019). Presidents [Online]. Available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents
²Gov.uk (July 2019). Past Prime Ministers [Online]. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/history/past-prime-ministers
³ The Holy See (July 2019). Popes [Online]. Available at http://w2.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html
⁴Newlands, J. (2018) A History of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust. London, BMO Global Asset Management.
⁵Newlands, J. (2018) A History of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust. London, BMO Global Asset Management.
⁶The Times. (June 2014), Michael Hart [Online]. Available at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/michael-hart-bp632c3wmlw
⁷Newlands, J. (2018) A History of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust. London, BMO Global Asset Management.
At BMO, our aim is to help our clients overcome the challenges they face and deliver the investment outcomes they seek. We've been helping clients with their financial needs for over 200 years.
A lot has happened since 1817, including the launch of the of the world's oldest collective investment fund vehicle - F&C Investment Trust over 150 years ago. This fund made investing more accessible to individual investors and we are proud to still manage it today.
We currently manage 10 Investment Trusts, providing a range of investment opportunities including access to equities, bonds, property and private equity. Each trust has different aims and objectives with the option of capital growth, income or a combination of the two and with a specific regional focus or with a global remit.