Witan whacks up the dividend up following another successful year


Originally published at: http://whichinvestmenttrust.com/witan-whacks-up-the-dividend-up-following-another-successful-year/

The large global trust has been winning plaudits for its performance as a low cost multi-manager, has announced its annual results, and I’ve been reviewing the numbers. Fast Facts Large and liquid global investment trust Multi manager which means it selects the best external managers globally to manage different parts of its portfolio of investments…


When I looked at these results I initially thought they weren’t that good, but actually, they are.

They’ve achieved this return with holdings in value funds that have not done very well at all.

I really like that they invest in value because value investing makes sense to little old simpletons like me, and I get that you have to wait, to be patient for them to perform, that makes sense to me too.

I’m almost certain I’d like to buy some of this. I’m trying to think of any reason why I shouldn’t but I can’t.

Only thing I can think of is if Andrew Bell is retiring soon, I wonder how old he is?


It is a very good for a multi manager, but if you select a range of different funds or trusts yourself you effectively create your own multi manager, I think people should be aware of that.

However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to do that then this is a good option.

I often find people investing a little in this and as part of a collection of trusts, which I think defeats the purpose of investing in a multi manager.


I don’t you should only invest in a multi manager fund if it’s your only investment @pauls. I would only ever invest in it along side some other investments, in case it went wrong, but also because I want exposure to managers or parts of the world Witan doesn’t touch.

The performance of the Lansdowne Partners fund has been stellar. Now this is a fund I could only get exposure to through Witan, which si a pretty good reason for investing here.


It’s encouraging that the management here are putting their money where their mouth is in terms of their shareholdings. I’m thinking especially of Andrew Bell and Harry Henderson. Having a meaningful stake means they are more closely aligned with my interests as a shareholder (which I’m not yet).

It’s an impressive line up of managers they’ve got there - Tweedy, Browne have a great long term track record, as does Matthews and others I’m not as familiar with.

I agree with @angieb I like the Value holdings, and performance otherwise has been good. I think I might stick some of my spare cash in here too.


I have a little bit of interest in investing but very little time to apply myself to it because of kids, family, work etc. Because I don’t have time to constantly monitor my savings I am looking for easy to manage investments I can forget about almost for a while and let them get on with it.

I am considering Witan as one of my two or three core holdings. I’ll probably only hold 2 or 3 in total so I might put 50% in to Witan. This is money held in ISAs and directly held, a lot of it is inheritance money. I don’t expect we will need to use any of it as a family until the kids go to Uni in 10+ years time.

I am just wondering what others think of this as a strategy? It would represent a very substantial portion of our family’s liquid wealth so I do want to be careful over my choices, but on the basis of this article at least I am impressed by what Witan has achieved and how they are managing their portfolio. I am familiar with the multi-manager concept, I have some in my SIPP recommended from my company pension scheme IFA, and they are really, really expensive with performance much worse than Witan.

I wasn’t terribly familiar with Witan until lunchtime yesterday, so I don’t wish to do something rash.

Feedback from anyone familiar with Witan would be very much appreciated.


Hi @elvisliveshere, I’m a big Elvis fan too!

I think you could use Witan for such a substantial proportion of your investments and feel ok about forgetting about it for a while. Down the bottom of the article it has the director shareholdings, if you look there you will see that Andrew Bell has 120,000 shares, so it should be reassuring at least that he is managing his own family money too.

Also because it is a multi-manager, in itself it is diversified. You are getting your diversification just through owning Witan.

Right now it is on a 5-6% discount whereas it was on a premium not so long ago so you’re getting it for less than the value of the underlying investments.

It has been in existence for decades as a trust, it was originally part of Henderson’s. Since Bell became the manager performance has improved massively because he’s moved the investments from a mix of passive and active to only really good active managers. He has hired James Hart too to help manage it which is a good sign that he’s making sure he has the resources he needs because it is a small firm, not a huge one with teams of analysts to call upon.


It is hard to comment without knowing what your overall aims are @elvisliveshere and how much you need it to grow.

Putting that to one side I tend you agree with @Paulo’s view on this, you probably could go away and forget about it for some time. I would try and keep abreast of analysts views and commentary. I’m not sure if it’s possible to subscribe here on this site to articles on a particular trust but if you can that would be useful.

Be mindful though that although this is cheap for a multi-manager it’s still more expensive than the average fund or trust such as Scottish Mortgage or City of London. In investing in a multi-manager you’re effectively buying financial advice of sorts, if not holistic. You’re paying for a manager(s) to look after your money.

For an investor who is seeking to be able to go away and forget about their investments a little bit that is probably not a bad strategy.


Thank you casper and paulo. It is really helpful to get feedback from others before committing to something really important.

With regards to Caspers question about what we want to achieve with this, we want it to grow, not just more than inflation but much more substantially than that, over the long term at least.

I view Witan as potentially being the motor of our portfolio because it will probably be home to half of our money.

I do like that the manager is eating his own pudding as it where by having a substantial holding himself.

I think as long as my wife agrees we will be proceeding with this, so thank you both again.


Witan would be a decent choice for someone who wants to invest and forget about it for a few years for reasons already gives (diversified actively managed fund of funds with lowish charges).

What else are you looking at to complement Witan? I’d suggest Scottish Mortgage/City of London depending how how much risk you’re after.


Witan being a multi manager, I was just wondering does Witan actually invest in existing funds run by these multi managers which would make it a true fund of funds OR do these multi managers run a dedicated fund exclusively for Witan?

In other words can ordinary investors buy these funds which Witan uses or are the completely exclusive to Witan?


Many of the funds Witan invests in @andrew-smith aren’t open to ordinary investors unless that have a million pounds or so, or they are not open to UK investors.

I am impressed by the line up of managers they’ve secured.


I hadn’t realised there was a difference until I read your question @andrew-smith Having some research now I see that sometimes it’s bespoke segregated mandates and sometimes its the regular funds. I wonder which perform best though? I couldn’t find an answer to that.


Any thoughts on Witan? I’m looking for a global trust that isn’t too risky. The performance here seems pretty decent, it’s on a very narrow discount. I have held a couple of trackers up until now but I’m getting a little bit worried about how they’ll perform in a market downturn if they own exactly what the market is make up of, hence I thought buy a good investment trust.

Love to get the opinions of others?


@jasond A updated piece of research on Witan is due to be published soon. It’s been worked on by my colleague right now.