They are quoted companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with Boards of Directors; they are subject to the listing rules of the UK Listing Authority established under the Financial Services and Markets Act. ‘Investment Trusts’ are also subject to the Companies Act 1985, as amended. The conduct of investment managers in promoting packaged products (‘ISA’, Share Plans) with underlying investment trust investments are regulated by the FCA.
Investment trusts can borrow money and invest the proceeds. This will magnify returns to investors in a rising market (and vice versa in falling markets). This is known as financial gearing. Typically the ‘gearing’ is described as a ratio (of borrowing to assets) – a gearing factor of 120 means that on a trust with equity of £100 million it has £20 million of debt (bank borrowings).
Typically anything from 50 to 100 shares. The ‘Fund Manager’ must have regard to the objective of the trust. To that end the underlying stocks are bought or sold to deliver either capital growth or income. Within those portfolios the managers will assess the stocks on a regular basis to ensure that they will deliver the objective, hopefully selling in advance of profit warnings or any other adverse market change that could impact on either the ability to deliver income or capital appreciation. Sometimes that can’t be achieved; that’s why ‘investment trusts’ have a spread of investments.
The spread is set by the marketmakers. There is no standard spread, it depends on the ‘liquidity’ of a particular stock, but in the case of British Empire the average spread is 0.22% *. It does not include stamp duty which is a tax at 0.5% of the value of all share purchases.
* as at 28th February 2015
The dividend yield is the last 12 months dividends (historic) divided by the share price.
All are calculated with reference to the previous closing mid price.
The company secretary has the responsibility for co-ordinating all aspects of the investment trust to ensure that it complies with its legal and financial reporting including any circulars etc., report and accounts, interim reports; convening board meetings, minutes and follow up there from, as well as liaison with the Board and external advisers.
The Board is responsible to shareholders; it oversees the external relationships, principally the fund management relationship, to ensure that the trust’s objective is met.
Under the Companies Act all public companies must maintain a register of their shareholders to record title to the security; to determine entitlement to dividends or capital distributions.