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Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust

Deep discount and attractive yield

Review | Investment Companies | 09 Nov 2018

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust (MCP) aims to deliver growth in line with nominal Asia ex-Japan GDP on a rolling three-year basis. It follows a detailed, bottom-up approach to investing in a concentrated portfolio of 20–30 of Asia’s highest-quality and most sustainable businesses, unconstrained by a benchmark. Although market conditions have become more challenging for Asian equities, MCP’s manager Andrew Graham believes the portfolio’s high-quality companies are poised to do well in this environment. He also notes the trust’s performance is less volatile than the MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan index. A dividend policy change in 2017 allowing payment from capital reserves, in addition to revenue income, has materially increased MCP’s yield. Unlike one-off special dividends, it is the board’s intention for this higher overall payout to endure. At 4.9%, MCP’s dividend yield is one of the highest among peers.

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust

Co-manager appointed as part of succession plan

Review | Investment Companies | 26 Jun 2018

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust (MNP) aims to generate long-term capital growth and real dividend growth from a diversified portfolio of high-quality global equities. With a view to succession planning, effective from 30 June 2018, the trust will be co-managed by Zehrid Osmani, working alongside the incumbent manager, Tom Walker. Osmani previously worked at BlackRock and is now head of Martin Currie’s global long-term unconstrained team. He has 21 years’ investment experience. Data from Morningstar show that MNP’s historical investment returns have been achieved with lower volatility compared with the average of its peers in the AIC Global sector. The trust operates a zero discount policy and has a progressive dividend strategy. Its current yield is 1.7%. Changes to MNP’s fee structure will see the annual management charge reduced from 0.5% to 0.4% of NAV with effect from FY19.

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust

Capital growth with attractive yield

Review | Investment Companies | 21 Jun 2018

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust (MCP) aims to deliver returns in line with nominal Asia ex-Japan GDP growth on a rolling three-year basis. It aims to achieve this through a rigorous ‘forensic’ analysis, to build a relatively concentrated portfolio of c 30 high-conviction stocks. This strategy was adopted in August 2014 and has since delivered annualised total returns of 11.6% to end-May 2018, with lower volatility relative to the MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan index. Following a change in dividend policy in April 2017, MCP’s 4.1% yield is one of the highest among peers, although its discount to cum-income NAV is one of the widest, suggesting scope to narrow over time.

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust

Consistent approach to global equity investing

Review | Investment Companies | 14 Dec 2017

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust (MNP) has been managed by Tom Walker since January 2000, aiming to generate long-term capital growth. He adopts a consistent, bottom-up investment process to construct a relatively concentrated portfolio of c 50 high-quality, primarily large-cap global equities, diversified by sector and geography. The manager stresses that MNP has lower volatility of returns compared to the average of its peers in the AIC Global sector. The trust adopted a zero discount policy in 2013 and has a progressive dividend policy; its current dividend yield is 1.7%, comparing favourably to its peer group average.

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust

Scope for narrower discount

Review | Investment Companies | 23 Nov 2017

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust (MCP) aims to generate returns at least in-line with Asia ex-Japan nominal GDP growth. It follows a bottom-up approach to stock-picking and uses detailed ‘forensic accounting’ assessments to build a high-conviction portfolio of 20 to 30 stocks, with a long-term view. The trust has persistently traded at a deep discount, but there is scope for this to narrow following a recent change in the dividend policy, which has lifted its yield to 4.0%, while maintaining the investment strategy. MCP’s yield now compares favourably against peers and could attract new interest from income focused investors.

Securities Trust of Scotland

New manager driving improved performance

Review | Investment Companies | 29 Aug 2017

Securities Trust of Scotland (STS) aims to generate rising income and long-term capital growth from a relatively concentrated portfolio of 35 to 55 global equities. Since May 2016, the trust has been managed by Mark Whitehead, who heads up Martin Currie’s income team. A new unconstrained, high-conviction investment approach was adopted on 1 June 2016, with performance measured against a peer group comprising both closed- and open-ended funds. STS has outperformed the peer group since the change in investment strategy. The trust actively uses gearing and has a progressive dividend strategy; its current dividend yield is 3.5%.

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust

Global equity exposure with low volatility

Review | Investment Companies | 26 Jun 2017

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust (MNP) aims to generate long-term capital growth from a portfolio of high-quality, primarily large-cap global equities. There has been continuity of leadership and process; Tom Walker, assisted by Martin Currie’s large team of experienced investment professionals, has managed MNP since January 2000. The trust has performed broadly in line with its blended benchmark over the last 10 years. However, its volatility of investment returns is lower than the average of its peer group, the AIC Global sector, which currently comprises 24 closed-end funds with a variety of mandates. Following the adoption of a zero discount policy in 2013, MNP’s shares trade close to NAV. The trust has a progressive dividend policy; its current yield of 1.8% compares favourably with the average of its peers.

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust

Proposed increase in the dividend

Review | Investment Companies | 03 May 2017

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust (MCP) adopted Martin Currie's Asia Long-Term Unconstrained (ALTU) strategy in July 2014, aiming to generate returns in line with Asia-Pacific ex-Japan GDP growth. The trust has consistently traded at a wider discount than its peers, but the differential has recently narrowed following the board's proposal on 4 April 2017 to increase the dividend meaningfully. Based on MCP's end-FY17 ex-income NAV, the dividend yield would more than double, lifting the yield to c 4.5%. MCP has outperformed its Asian GDP growth benchmark since adopting the ALTU strategy and over shorter time periods, with particularly strong relative performance over the last 12 months, helped by sterling weakness.

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust

Unconstrained investment in Asian equities

Review | Investment Companies | 05 Oct 2016

Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust (MCP) was launched in 1985 and in July 2014 adopted Martin Currie's Asia Long-Term Unconstrained (ALTU) strategy, aiming to generate returns in line with Asia-Pacific ex-Japan GDP growth, which generally has not been fully reflected in the region's equity market returns. Since ALTU's inception in 2008, it has demonstrated lower volatility than the market, capturing most of the upside in rising markets, while outperforming in falling markets. MCP has a wider discount than the peer group, which provides scope for it to narrow; its current dividend yield of 2.4% is attractive versus non income-mandated peers.

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust

Diversified global exposure with dividend growth

Review | Investment Companies | 06 Sep 2016

Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust (MNP) aims to outperform the total return of the benchmark FTSE World Index by investing in a portfolio of global, primarily large-cap equities with above-average growth potential and attractive valuations. A zero discount policy was adopted in 2013 to enhance liquidity and ensure that the share price trades close to net asset value. MNP has a progressive dividend policy; annual dividends have been increased or maintained since the trust's inception. The current dividend yield of 2.0% is above the peer group average.

Securities Trust of Scotland

New manager and newly unconstrained approach

Review | Investment Companies | 22 Jun 2016

Securities Trust of Scotland (STS) has revamped its investment approach, appointing Martin Currie's income team head Mark Whitehead as lead manager and adopting an unconstrained and high-conviction strategy to meet its objective of producing real growth in capital and income, rather than measuring performance against a backward-looking market index. The more flexible mandate will allow the limited use of options and the gearing facility will be increased. These changes build on a new dividend policy announced by the board last year, which has brought STS's yield into line with its peer group at more than 4%, and the manager's focus on quality companies with sustainable earnings may enhance future performance and help to narrow the trust's discount to NAV.

Securities Trust of Scotland

Global investment in income and growth

Review | Investment Companies | 09 Mar 2016

Securities Trust of Scotland (STS) aims to achieve a combination of rising income and long-term capital growth from a concentrated portfolio of global large- and mid-cap stocks. The board's revised dividend policy, announced in May 2015, enables the company to deliver more of its returns to shareholders in dividends, while maintaining the investment approach and avoiding a potentially risky move towards higher-yielding stocks; STS now offers a 4.4% yield. Manager Martin Currie has a commitment to income investing, one of its principal strategy types.