Investment trust assets slip 3% to £268bn

Baillie Gifford

Assets managed by the investment trust industry have slipped about 3% in 2022 — standing at £268.5 billion as of December 9 — according to the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

That’s down from £277.2 billion at December 31, 2021.

The record level of assets for the industry was £277.6 billion at the end of November 2021.

Despite difficult market conditions during 2022, investment companies have raised £5.2 billion so far this year.

Almost the entire amount was raised by existing investment companies in secondary fundraising activity.

“It is just under half the amount raised in secondary fundraising last year (£10.8 billion), which was a record year both for secondary fundraising and total fundraising (including IPOs),” said the AIC.

“Conviction Life Sciences announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in November and this is now expected to complete at the end of January 2023.

“This means that there have been no investment company IPOs on the London Stock Exchange this year.

“The one new launch was SuperSeed Capital on the Aquis Exchange, which raised £1.96 million in January.

“The secondary fundraising was led by investment companies in the Renewable Energy Infrastructure sector which raised £1.51 billion.

“This was followed by the Infrastructure and Flexible Investment sectors, which raised totals of £854 million and £848 million respectively.”

Four investment company mergers have been completed in 2022, with a fifth expected to be completed by the end of the year. These include the merger of Scottish Investment Trust with JPMorgan Global Growth & Income.

“The average investment company generated a share price total return of -16.1% between 1 January and 9 December 2022,” added the AIC.

“The Commodities & Natural Resources sector performed best over this period with a 23.3% return, followed by Leasing (13.6%) and Renewable Energy Infrastructure (7.3%).

“The fourth best-performing sector was Global Equity Income (4.8%), which was the best-performing mainstream equity sector over the period.”

AIC CEO Richard Stone said: “2022 has been a challenging year, and the most bruising since the global financial crisis in terms of performance.

“However, investment companies continue to show resilience with fundraising of more than £5 billion, lower than the record levels of 2021 but comparable with many years of the past decade.

“The year has also seen a continuation of the merger trend which took off last year.

“Four mergers are expected to be completed by the end of 2022, the same number as in 2021.

“We’ve also seen four investment companies wind up, and 27 investment company boards negotiate fee changes – demonstrating that boards are prepared to do what it takes to deliver value for shareholders.

“Investment companies have reinvented themselves many times over their long history and have proved remarkably durable, providing stable dividends in difficult times.

“The fact that our total assets stand at £268.5 billion, only 3% down from their record high of £277.6 billion, is a sign of the continuing strength and adaptability of the sector.”