Investments  

£2.1bn Witan trust splits shares to boost liquidity

£2.1bn Witan trust splits shares to boost liquidity

Investors in the £2.1bn Witan investment trust will receive five new shares for each share they currently own, in a move designed to broaden the shareholder base and increase liquidity.

In an announcement to the stock exchange this morning (24 May) the trust's board confirmed the share split, which will take effect from 28 May.

The effect of a share split is to make each individual share cheaper, and therefore broaden the number of people who can afford to buy them, thereby increasing the liquidity.

Harry Henderson, the trust's chairman, said: "The intention is to make Witan's shares more accessible, particularly for those making regular savings or reinvesting dividends, where the approximately £10 share price in recent years may not be an ideal unit size to deal in."

The Witan investment trust is a multi-manager fund, run by chief executive Andrew Bell. It originated to invest the family wealth of the Henderson family, and the fund house Henderson Global Investors was originally founded to manage Witan, though Witan is now independent of Henderson Global Investors. 

The trust has underperformed its peer group over the past five years, returning 65 per cent, compared with 84 per cent for the average trust in the AIC Global sector in the same time period.

david.thorpe@ft.com