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Investment Trust Insider on Schroder Japan Growth

Investment Trust Insider on Schroder Japan Growth – James Carthew: Schroder Japan Growth could look rosy under new manager

Earlier this month Schroders announced that Andrew Rose, manager of Schroder Japan Growth (SJG), was getting ready to retire in June 2019. The plan is to hand over the funds he manages to Masaki Taketsume, who has worked alongside Rose in London since 2017 and has been part of the Japanese team at Schroders since 2007.

An important part of the investment process is a peer review of all stock ideas. The new manager has had a hand in putting together SJG’s current portfolio and this might suggest that there will be no dramatic change in the way that the trust is managed.

Regular readers will know that I favour, and own, Baillie Gifford Japan (BGFD), which still tops the performance tables in the Japanese large-cap sub-sector over most long-term time periods and has outperformed all other Japanese trusts over the past 10 years except Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon (BGS). Over the short-term (six months), however, it is SJG that leads the pack. It has proved more defensive in a period when Japanese markets have been weak.

SJG benchmarks itself against the Tokyo Stock Exchange 1st Section Index or Topix as it is more commonly known. Over periods to the end of 2018, it more or less matches the benchmark over five years but lags it over three years and is a long way behind over a year (-12.7% versus -8.4%).

It is a reasonable size with net assets of around £260 million and trades on a discount of 10%. This is towards the widest point of the 3%-13% discount range of the past year and compares to BGFD on a 6% premium enabling it to issue shares this year). This may be an uncomfortable position for SJG’s board, as…

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