Alliance Trust returns 10 per cent in 2015

Alliance Trust returns 10 per cent in 2015

Alliance Trust has returned 10.7 per cent over 2015 as chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin promised to address the “lack of gender diversity” on the board.

In its annual results, Alliance Trust announced the total shareholder and net asset value total return of 5.4 per cent, compared to the MSCI AC World index benchmark 3.8 per cent gain.

It has also raised its dividend for the 49th consecutive year in 2015, up 0.4 per cent to 12.43p.

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Lord Smith opened the results statement acknowledging it had been an “eventful” year for the investment trust, following high profile departures this year, and said “shareholders expected change”.

Chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox is due to leave the group on 11 March and left the board last month, while Susan Noble also stepped down from the board in February to become chairman of Alliance Trust Investments.

Lord Smith added: “I am acutely aware of the lack of gender diversity on the current board as a result of the recent changes.

“Alliance Trust has long been a leader in the area of board diversity, and this is an issue which I am determined to address at the earliest opportunity.”

The investment trust also managed to narrow its discount during the year to a year-end discount of 8.1 per cent, down from 12.4 per cent a year earlier.

The ongoing charges ratio has also been reduced to 0.59 per cent and said it is on track to reach 0.45 per cent by the end of 2016, which makes it one of the lowest in the Global investment trust sector.

Alliance Trust Investments, the investment manager for Alliance Trust, generated net inflows of £81m in 2015, ending the year with third party assets under management of £2.1bn.