group shakes up team and beefs up resources to electric and general investment trust in bid to compete more effectively as a global player
Richard Carlyle has replaced Richard Smith as lead manager on the £213m Henderson Electric and General investment trust.
Smith, who has been lead manager on the trust since 1993, will continue managing the trust's UK portfolio, which comprises around 50% of assets, while Carlyle will take responsibility for global asset allocation.
Smith began running the UK portfolio in 1986, a position he maintained after taking over as lead manager.
'Smith is a good UK stockpicker and we wanted to make sure we played to his strengths and put someone else in place whose skills lie in top-down asset allocation,' , said Stephen Westwood, Henderson's head of investment trusts.
Carlyle, who joined Henderson in 1993 and is the group's co-head of equities, has primarily worked on the institutional side of the business. He runs the firm's main pooled managed pension fund, which has assets of around £300m.
Henderson feels it needs to improve the resources on Electric and General to compete more effectively as a growth player, accorded to Westwood.
He said: 'We have all been quite chastened by the fall from grace of growth stocks. We are just making sure we have the right balance between catching the rebound in growth stocks, which seems to be coming through, and making sure the next time we have a boom-bust situation, we have an asset allocation specialist in place.'
There are no major changes to asset allocation planned in the short term, with the 50% UK, 50% overseas allocation likely to remain in place as the shareholder base is predominantly UK-domiciled, with around 60% of shares in the hands of private investors.
'The allocation feels about right for a long-term savings vehicle,' Westwood said. 'If you look at pension funds, they would have similar allocations in UK funds. However, the UK allocation may vary as we become more or less bullish on its prospects versus the rest of the world.'
The trust was trading at a discount to net asset value (NAV) of 16.8% on 27 August, compared to an AITC Global Growth sector weighted average of 11.8%.
On an NAV basis, the company has outperformed slightly over three and six months to 27 August, posting growth of 11% and 23% respectively compared to the sector weighted averages of 10% and 21%. Over 12 months, it has posted growth of 1% against a sector weighted average of 2%.
The trust has significantly underperformed over three and five years, losing 50% and 19% of NAV respectively, against sector weighted average declines of 30% and 3%.
'The trust had a great burst of performance during the bull market, before a couple of tough years in 2001 and 2002, but has turned around this year,' Westwood said.
'We are trying to make the changes when we have a bit of momentum behind it.
'When things are on the turn, it is a good time to make sure you have things ready for what will hopefully be better markets.'
The trust is 100% invested with a net gearing position of zero, as borrowings equal to 10% of NAV are offset by cash holdings.
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