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By Emma Ann Hughes | Published Feb 22, 2012

Q: What is an investment trust?

Investment companies are listed on a stock exchange and have an independently elected board of directors, who are there to protect shareholders interests.

They invest in a diversified portfolio of assets and have a fixed number of shares in issue at any one time, meaning that they are closed ended.

As the oldest form of collective investment, some companies have been in existence since the nineteenth century.

There are more than 400 investment companies, which include investment trusts, offshore investment companies, venture capital trusts (VCTs) and split capital companies, many of which have existed for more than 50 years.

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