UK investments drive Witan returns in first half of year

UK investments drive Witan returns in first half of year

The £2.3bn Witan investment trust has outperformed the benchmark as it benefitted from investments in the UK market.

The Witan investment trust returned 1.14 per cent in the six months to 30 June, compared with 1.06 per cent for the benchmark in the same period. 

Witan is a multi-manager fund, with the cash invested with external fund managers. 

The strongest bout of outperformance came from the three UK fund managers, who returned between 4 and 7 per cent, in contrast to the global funds, where the best return was the 3 per cent delivered by Veritas Asset Management.

The three UK fund managers that deploy capital on behalf of Witan are Edward Legget at Artemis, Nick Train at Lindsell Train, and Heronbridge Investment Management.

The trust’s chairman, Harry Henderson, writing in the trust’s half year report, said eight of the ten managers that invest on behalf of Witan shareholders beat their respective market benchmarks in the first half of the year.  

But Mr Henderson acknowledged when the higher fees charged by Witan are considered, the gain in investment performance is effectively wiped out.

At the same time he said the relatively muted performance of global equities in the first half of 2018 was understandable following two years of strong returns.

In January, Witan sold a £25m investment in a European equity tracker and deployed the capital with Crux Asset Management and SW Mitchell.  

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, noted Witan was one of the top ten bought trusts on the platform.

Witan trades at a 1 per cent discount to net asset value.