Alliance Trust, £3.4bn Dundee fund, in board changes

Alliance Trust plc, the £3.4 billion Dundee fund, announced that Gregor Stewart will retire from the board and as chair of the investment trust company on December 31, 2023.

Stewart will be succeeded as chair by Dean Buckley.

Buckley joined the Alliance Trust board in 2021. He is senior independent director of JPMorgan Asia Growth & Income plc, chair of Fidelity Special Values PLC, chairman of Evelyn Partners Fund Solutions Limited and a non-executive director of Baillie Gifford & Co Limited.

Buckley, an actuary, was previously CEO of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Prior to that, he held several positions at HSBC Bank plc, most recently as CEO of HSBC Asset Management UK & Middle East.

Dean Buckley

Alliance Trust uses external fund managers Willis Towers Watson (WTW).

The Alliance Trust fund’s 10 biggest investments at November 30, 2023, were Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Visa, Mastercard, Nvidia, Petrobras, UnitedHealth Group, TotalEnergies and Meta Platforms.

In its most recent investment commentary, Alliance Trust said: “After three consecutive months of negative share price returns, global equity markets staged a strong come back in November, as investors became more convinced that major central banks around the world are close to winning their battle with inflation without high interest rates causing a recession.

“Heightened expectations of a soft landing and anticipation of potential rate reductions to come powered the MSCI All Country World Index to a 9.2% return in US Dollar terms which translated to a 4.7% gain in Sterling after the pound strengthened against the Dollar …

“Our portfolio outperformed the index by a significant margin, with a NAV total return of 6.1% in November, taking year-to-date returns to 16.0%, versus 10.8% for the index, although a widening of the discount since January trimmed total shareholder returns for the year so far to 13.3%.”

On the board changes, Alliance Trust said: “As previously announced, Gregor Stewart will retire from the board and as chair of Alliance Trust on 31st December 2023, having completed a tenure of nine years as a director and just over four years as chair.

“Dean Buckley will take over as chair on that date and will also cease to be a member of the Audit and Risk Committee from then.”

Sarah Bates

Alliance Trust senior independent director Sarah Bates said: “The board would like to record its appreciation of Gregor’s contribution to the Trust.

“He has guided skilfully and with considerable determination the successful implementation of the changes first agreed with shareholders in 2017.

“The Trust has since delivered award winning and robust performance and has also been recognised for its marketing approach.

“We are pleased to welcome Dean to the chair.

“Dean brings his considerable experience of investment management to the role and we look forward to his building on the strong foundations Gregor has established.”

On July 28, Alliance Trust said the fund’s net asset value (NAV) Total Return was 11.1% for the six months ended June 30, 2023, significantly outperforming its benchmark index the MSCI All Country World Index (MSCI ACWI) which returned 7.8%.