Talking Point  

Property funds dominate as AIC expands

Property funds dominate as AIC expands

The growth of niche property funds is key to the expansion of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

The trade body has announced that 10 investment trusts have joined the organisation.

Of these, six are property trusts, Alpha Real, Ground Rents Income, Empiric Student Property, Local Shopping Reit, Primary Health Properties and Supermarket Income Reit.

Peter Elston, chief investment officer at Seneca, said he is invested in specialist property investment funds because they have many of the same defensive characteristics as bonds, but at a time when bonds are expensive.

The other trusts to join are Africa Opportunity, which is part of the AIC Country Specialist Asia Pacific sector, the Gabelli Merger Plus trust, which is in the AIC North America Sector, Honeycomb, which is a trust investing in debt, and Chenavari Capital Solutions, which is a financials fund. Both of those trusts are in the AIC Specialist debt sector.

One of the largest investors in Honeycomb is Neil Woodford. The fund manager owns about 17 per cent of the shares of the trust.

Mr Woodford said he is invested in alternative loan products because they are lending to areas of the market that banks are no longer interested in.    

Tony Yarrow, who runs financial planning firm Wise Investments in Oxfordshire, said the problem with many alternative property investments is they have performed well at a time when bond yields are low, but would expect that to reverse when yields rise.