Shake up at JPMorgan Multi Asset – JPMorgan Multi Asset Trust just passed its third birthday. It would be fair to say that the trust is sub-scale – with a market cap of £80m – and not particularly in demand – it currently trades on a discount of 11.8%. The board and the managers, believe this is an appropriate point at which to make some changes. The idea is to help the company achieve the best possible investment results whilst also enabling clear communication of those results and the company’s purpose to shareholders.
The investment objective will not change. The trust will continue to aim to provide its shareholders with income generation and capital growth, while seeking to maintain lower levels of portfolio volatility than a traditional equity portfolio.
Previously, the dividend was intended to be paid from revenue generated by the portfolio. The thinking is that this rule will be relaxed to give greater flexibility in portfolio construction, allowing access to a wider range of strategies across the JPMorgan platform.
The progressive distribution policy will be linked with inflation. The total annual distribution will grow, as a minimum, in line with the UK’s annual Consumer Price Index (CPI), using the current 4p per share level as a base. The dividend would still be paid quarterly in August, November, February and May of each year. Based on current levels of CPI, the target for the financial year ending 28th February 2022 would be 4.1p. The first of these will be declared in June, for payment in August 2021.
This was LIBOR one-month Sterling +4.5% (4.77% for the financial period ending 28th February 2021). However, LIBOR is being abolished to be replaced by SONIA (Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate). Rather than just swapping LIBOR for SONIA, the board reckon a clear and simple reference index would better serve shareholders. The board will now measure MATE’s performance against a target of a total return of 6% a year, measured over a rolling five year period. The managers think this is achievable, based on JPMorgan’s long term return assumptions.
The company will change its name to JPMorgan Multi-Asset Growth & Income plc. The stock market ticker, MATE, will not change.
“The board recognises that it is in the interests of Shareholders to maintain a share price as close as possible to the Net Asset Value per Share but also recognises the importance of maintaining the size of the company.”
The board is hoping that improved performance will help narrow the discount. It will consider using buybacks to address imbalances in supply of and demand, when it believes it is in the interests of all shareholders and subject to normal market conditions.
The managers will be hosting a webinar in the coming weeks to provide an update in relation to these changes and answer questions from existing and prospective shareholders.
[We are pleased to see MATE’s board thinking about ways of self-improvement. Returns since launch have been a little behind its proposed new benchmark, which is better than Aberdeen Diversified Income & Growth but worse than Seneca Global Income & Growth and BMO Managed Portfolio Income. Most of these trusts are too small, but the objective ought to be popular with investors. Setting out a clear dividend objective and using the benefit of the structure to use reserves to pay dividends should make the trust more attractive.]
MATE : Shake up at JPMorgan Multi Asset