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26 Nov 2020

Securities Trust of Scotland

Company Notes

James Harries of Troy AM assumes responsibility

On 12 November Troy Asset Management assumed responsibility for the investment management of Securities Trust of Scotland, replacing Martin Currie, with James Harries as its named fund manager. This appointment followed an extensive review by the fund’s Board after Mark Whitehead, its previous manager, announced that he would leave Martin Currie at the end of this year. The fund has retained its global equity income mandate, although a zero-discount policy has been adopted.

James is responsible for Troy’s Global Income strategy and is also the manager of the £411m Trojan Global Income Fund. Both this open-ended fund and Securities Trust of Scotland will be managed in an identical fashion, with an emphasis on high quality companies. At the end of October, the open-ended fund’s largest sector weightings were to Consumer Staples (38%), Healthcare (20%), IT (18%) and Financials (11%). Since its launch in November 2016, this fund has seen a NAV total return of 33% compared with +51% for the MSCI World Index and +27% for its IA Global Equity Income peer group, however, this has been achieved with considerably lower volatility than its peers or comparator index.

As part of the move to Troy, the Board decided to rebase the fund’s dividend to 5.5p for the year to 31 March 2021. This represents a 14% reduction on the previous level and equates to a yield of 2.7% based on the current share price. However, the Board believes that 5.5p represents a “a more sustainable level” particularly given that income will only be derived from the natural distributions from the underlying portfolio and it anticipates a steady growth in dividends from this level.