Investment Companies Monthly Roundup

Kindly sponsored by Baillie Gifford and abrdn


After an already difficult first quarter to the year, April proved no different as the war in Ukraine, Covid-induced lockdowns in China and the prospect of a tighter monetary policy in the US all weighed on sentiment. In terms of performance within the investment companies’ universe, leasing trusts took the top spot with all members delivering positive returns as Emirates made positive noises about extending its use of A380 aircraft. Meanwhile, the infrastructure securities and renewable energy infrastructure sectors also did well helped by high energy prices, while countries continue to show their commitment towards better use of energy, transport and the like. On the negative side, technology & media trusts were the biggest losers as growth stocks continue to be out of favour. The month saw tech giant Netflix’s shares plummet as it reported a surprise loss of 200,000 subscribers. Meanwhile, Japanese funds also suffered with the yen down -11.1% versus the dollar year-to-date. No changes were made at the BoJ’s April meeting, but commentators say its actions will be important to monitor in the coming months given the potential impact on global bond yields if Japanese yields move higher (see Appendix 1 for a breakdown of how all the sectors have performed this year).

April’s median total share price return was -0.4% (the average was 3.7%) which compares with a median of 1.9% in March. Readers interested in recent briefings from the industry can click here to access our economic and political roundup.

Best performing sectors over April

Worst performing sectors over April

On the positive side

Both top and bottom performers in April included a mix of mandates showing no strong trends but rather individual circumstances contributing to performance. In NAV terms, Africa Opportunity was the best performer (the trust remains in winding down mode) and Symphony International took the top spot in share price terms, having done well from an improving outlook for the hospitality, healthcare and lifestyle sectors. BH Macro had a good month after reporting strong results while Gulf Investment Fund has continued to benefit from rising oil prices. After being one of the worst performers in recent months, JPMorgan Russian Securities made it into the top NAV performers list as the price of one of its Kazakh investments soared. US dollar denominated assets benefited from dollar strength, helping funds such as US Solar and Doric Nimrod Air Three. An investment in Grindrod, a listed shipping company, helped Taylor Maritime make the top ten list.

On the negative side

Growth-focused global (and global smaller) funds suffered with Manchester & London, Edinburgh Worldwide, Scottish Mortgage and Keystone Positive Change down in NAV terms while Smithson was down in share price terms. Three of the names listed are Baillie Gifford mandates which is famously a growth house, an area which has struggled since the start of the year. abrdn China’s share price continued to fall as parts of the country went back into lockdown while Japanese funds Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon and JPMorgan Japanese also took a beating for reasons already discussed. The worst performer in share price terms was CIP Merchant Capital after it became obvious that the bidder for the company had won the day.

Discounts and premiums

More expensive and cheaper relative to NAV

Literacy Capital enjoyed a significant turnaround in April, with its 7% discount swinging to a 15% premium. This comes after the trust reported strong figures in its maiden results for 2021. Meanwhile, Geiger Counter’s NAV and share price have both been quite volatile recently, a double-digit premium at the end of April has since evaporated, while Symphony International’s 55% discount narrowed slightly to 40%. As already mentioned, the latter has been benefiting from an improving outlook for the hospitality, healthcare and lifestyle sectors.

After coming back down to reality last month (it was trading on a 59.3% premium at the end of 2021) Schiehallion’s premium increased yet again in April. It also reported strong results for the 12 months to 31 January 2022, achieving a 17.8% share price return despite the turmoil faced by growth stocks at the start of the year. abrdn Latin American Income has had an excellent start to the year as the region has fared well from higher commodity prices. However, the NAV slipped in April and the share price fall did not reflect all of this.

Having increased to ludicrous levels over the past two months, JPMorgan Russian Securities’ premium fell sharply in April, helped by the NAV uplift referred to above but remains at an absurd 128%. Meanwhile, HydrogenOne Capital Growth’s premium narrowed during the month. The company bought a minority stake in an aerospace business at the end of March which investors may be cautious about as travel hasn’t fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, but the general growth sell-off may also be a factor. After seeing its discount swing out in February and narrow in March, Oryx International Growth’s discount widened to double digits once more in April.

Money in and out

Money coming in and going out

Just over £470m of net new money was raised in April, led by a £307m fundraise from Supermarket Income REIT. Having initially targeted £175m, the board agreed to raise more due to its confidence in acquiring assets in the pipeline, the increase in the availability of attractive investment opportunities since the marketing roadshow began and the extremely strong level of support and quality of demand from investors in the issue. Greencoat Renewables also saw its placing oversubscribed and raised a commendable €281m (£250m) while Gore Street Energy Storage raised £150m (up from the £75m target) with net proceeds planned to be deployed towards the company’s significant pipeline.

Ruffer and Capital Gearing also issued new shares while share buybacks were led by Monks, Alliance Trust, F&C, Witan and SME Credit Realisation.

Major news stories over April

Portfolio developments

Corporate news

Managers and fees

Property news

QuotedData views

Recently published research notes

Henderson High Income – Last man standing

Henderson High Income (HHI) has enjoyed something of a UK revival for a year now, boosted by a recovery from the pandemic and a game of catch-up among dividend-paying companies, which manager David Smith says still have further to go. Concerns around inflation, and now the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, linger – but the trust’s focus on high quality companies and its ability to invest across both equities and bonds means that it has more scope to prepare for any uncertainty on the horizon. Following the liquidation of Acorn Income in Q4 2021, HHI is now the only trust in the UK equity and bond income sector.

Polar Capital Global Financials Trust – Riding out the storm

Polar Capital Global Financials Trust (PCFT) has been a beneficiary of renewed interest in the financials sector, as economies reopen from the effects of lockdowns and interest rates begin to edge up (as we explain in this note, higher rates should feed into higher margins for banks). Incredibly, the sector is yet to make up the ground it lost relative to the wider market in early 2020, as COVID-19. Many of the companies in PCFT’s portfolio are reporting strong earnings growth already. However, the sector’s rerating has stalled on fears of a recession. PCFT’s managers point to the strength of banks’ balance sheets and their conservative lending policies. They also cite the evidence of 1970s UK – when barring brief periods of very high inflation – banks did relatively well.


Here is a selection of what is coming up. Please refer to the Events section of our website for updates between now and when they are scheduled:


Have you been listening to our weekly news round-up shows? Every Friday at 11 am we run through the more interesting bits of the week’s news and we usually have a special guest or two answering questions about a particular investment company.

Friday The news show Special Guest Topic
1 October AIE, CAT, IGC, VNH Tim Creed Schroder UK Public Private
8 October FEML, GRP Steven Tredget Oakley Capital
15 October ATS, CGL, GHS Nicholas Yeo Aberdeen China
22 October FEML, SCIN Claire Shaw Scottish Mortgage
29 October EPG, SHED Richard Pindar Literacy Capital
5 November UKW, GHS, ACIC Rory Bateman Schroder British Opportunities
12 November PINT, SMT, GSEO Helen Steers Pantheon
19 November TIGT, ROOF Iain McCombie Baillie Gifford UK Growth
26 November MTU, JLEN, GRIT, CORD David Cornell India Capital Growth
3 December AAS, TEEC Rob Crayfourd CQS Natural Resources Growth & Income
10 December EWI, TLEI Nicholas Ware Henderson Diversified Income
7 January QuotedData Andrew McHattie 2021 roundup
14 January ELTA, JLEN, HGEN, ASLI Jason Baggaley Standard Life Investments Property Income
21 January BSIF, RICA Keith Watson Geiger Counter
28 January FSF, CIP, SLPE Jonathan Maxwell SDCL Energy Efficiency
4 February AEET, TEEC Sebastian Lyon Personal Assets
11 February THRG, SEC, TFIF, UKML Richard Aston CC Japan Income & Growth
18 February CSH, HONY, NESF, TRIG, SUPR Carlos Hardenberg Mobius
25 February BSIF, CRS, DGI9, JEFI Ian Francis New City High Yield
4 March JRS, MCKS Thomas Moore Aberdeen Standard Equity Income
11 March ATT, JEFI, SGEM James Harries Securities Trust of Scotland
18 March FEET, RAV, TRIG Tom Moore & Henrik Dahlström Downing Renewables & Infrastructure
25 March GRP, ANII, IGC, RKW Blake Hutchins Troy Income & Growth
1 April FJV, ORIT, PSH Ian Lance Temple Bar
8 April GRID, HGEN, INPP, SUPR Yoojeong Oh abrdn Asian Income
22 April AEET, NESF, PHLL Viktor Szabó abrdn Latin American Income
29 April NBPE, VEIL Robert Guest Foresight Sustainable Forestry
Coming up
6 May MAVT Gary Moglione Momentum Multi-Asset Value Trust
13 May PINT Richard Sem Pantheon Infrastructure
20 May ABD James Thom Aberdeen New Dawn


Our Independent Guide to quoted investment companies is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to brush up on their knowledge of the investment companies’ sector.

Appendix – April 2022 median performance by sector

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