Alliance Trust beats index with 16.8% H1 return

Robert Smith

Dundee-based investment firm Alliance Trust, which appointed external asset managers Willis Towers Watson (WTW) in 2017, said on Thursday its total shareholder return (TSR) was 16.8% for the six months to June 30, 2019.

That compares to the MSCI ACWI index total return of 16.7%.

Alliance Trust plc manages assets of around £3 billion and has a stock market value of about £2.7 billion.

Alliance Trust said its investment portfolio now comprises 99.5% global equities following completion of the sale of Alliance Trust Savings.

Alliance Trust chairman Robert Smith said: “I am pleased to report an encouraging period of strong absolute returns to shareholders.

“Global equity markets rebounded strongly in the first half and we delivered a total shareholder return of 16.8% against the 16.7% return of our benchmark index.

“Since we appointed WTW, our equity portfolio total return has been 22.2%, outperforming the benchmark, which returned 21.5%.

“We have also outperformed many of our peers in a challenging period for active managers.

“With the sale of Alliance Trust Savings having closed in June, we have completed the simplification of the Trust as approved by our shareholders just over two years ago following the strategic review.

“We now have less than £14m invested outside of global equities and we expect this to be realised by the end of the year.

“I am also pleased that we have declared a 3% year-on-year increase in our interim dividend, continuing our long record of rising dividends.

“We started 2019 expecting there to be increasingly difficult global economic conditions and continued political uncertainty, and this has proved to be the case.

“The first half brought significant volatility in the equity market which may well continue.

“We believe that our diversified, best ideas investment approach means that the Trust is well positioned to take advantage of volatile markets, as all our stock pickers have extensive experience of a wide variety of market environments over many years, including both bull and bear markets.

“We are confident in their abilities to identify the winners and we believe they will deliver attractive investment performance over the long-term.”