Trust statistics as at 31 oct 2018
Share price 1026.00p
NAV per ordinary Share 1041.43p
Premium (Discount) (1.5%)
Gross assets £2.0bn
Gearing 11%
Yield 2.05%
Source: BNP Paribas as at 31.10.2018. NAV is cum income with debt at fair value.

Monthly Commentary

October was a trying month for investors as equity markets fell by over 5% in aggregate. A month-end rally helped mask an intra-month decline of nearly 8%. Mark-downs were widespread with most regions suffering losses, although Asia was the stand-out loser with a decline of 7.7%. The US market which is still up 9.2% year to date (in sterling terms), fell by 4.7% as the high-flying technology sector underperformed for the second month in a row. Energy stocks were also weak as the oil price retreated from recent highs in this risk-averse environment. Defensive sectors such as utilities, telecommunications and healthcare outperformed the wider market. This reversal in fortunes created a significant headwind for many stock-picking investment managers, including our own, who struggled to match the performance of their benchmarks this month. Indeed, the increased level of market volatility in 2018 appears to have made life difficult for active managers for much of the year, as markets have reacted to an unpredictable political environment rather than to company specific factors.

Witan’s NAV total return was -7.6% over the month and the share price total return was -7.2%. The benchmark total return was -5.8%, as the decline in asset value was amplified by gearing which has been used to shareholder’s significant benefit over the longer-term, albeit not in October. Over the year to date the NAV total return was -3.5% and the share price total return was -3.4%. The benchmark delivered a total return of -1.9% over the same period.

As already noted, equity markets were volatile during October, registering declines of 5-8%. Contributing factors included rising US interest rates and oil prices, trade war concerns and Brexit uncertainties. Meanwhile, economic growth (particularly in the US) remained resilient, corporate profits have continued to grow and inflation expectations remain contained. Although mood swings in markets are notoriously hard to predict, we believe that for long-term investors the recent ructions are more of an opportunity than cause for undue concern.

31 Oct 2018

Witan’s NAV total return was -7.6% over the month and the share price total return was -7.2%. The benchmark total return was -5.8%, as the decline in asset value was amplified by gearing which has been used to shareholder’s significant benefit over the longer-term, albeit not in October.

*Please remember, past performance is not a guide to future performance, and the value of shares and the income from them can rise and fall, so investors may not get back the amount originally invested. Net Asset Value (“NAV”) performance is not the same as share price performance and investors may not realise returns the same as NAV performance.

Trust Information

Epic Code WTAN
Sector Global Growth
Trust Type Conventional
Launch Date 1909
Financial Year End 31 December
Dividend Frequency Quarterly
Last Ex Dividend Date 23 August 2018
AGM April
Shares in Issue (excluding treasury) 178,229,368

Ongoing charges

Excluding performance fee 0.76%
Including performance fee 0.78%
Ongoing charges as disclosed in the Annual Report for the year ended 31.12.2017

43 years of consecutive dividend growth

Dividend history (pence per share)

Please note that Final dividends are paid in the following year.

Dividend Schedule

Type Ex-div date Pay date Amount Status
3rd Interim 2018 22 Nov 2018 18 Dec 2018 5.25p Estimate
2nd Interim 2018 23 Aug 2018 18 Sep 2018 5.25p Actual
1st Interim 2018 17 May 2018 18 Jun 2018 5.25p Actual
4th Interim 2017 01 Mar 2018 29 Mar 2018 6.75p Actual
3rd Interim 2017 16 Nov 2017 18 Dec 2017 4.75p Actual
2nd Interim 2017 24 Aug 2017 18 Sep 2017 4.75p Actual
1st Interim 2017 18 May 2017 16 Jun 2017 4.75p Actual
4th Interim 2016 02 Mar 2017 31 Mar 2017 6.25p Actual
3rd Interim 2016 17 Nov 2016 16 Dec 2016 4.25p Actual
2nd Interim 2016 25 Aug 2016 16 Sep 2016 4.25p Actual
1st Interim 2016 19 May 2016 17 Jun 2016 4.25p Actual
4th Interim 03 Mar 2016 01 Apr 2016 5.45p Actual
3rd Interim 19 Nov 2015 18 Dec 2015 3.85p Actual
2nd Interim 20 Aug 2015 18 Sep 2015 3.85p Actual
1st Interim 21 May 2015 18 Jun 2015 3.85p Actual
4th Interim 05 Mar 2015 02 Apr 2015 4.60p Actual
3rd Interim 20 Nov 2014 18 Dec 2014 3.60p Actual
2nd Interim 20 Aug 2014 18 Sep 2014 3.60p Actual
1st Interim 21 May 2014 18 Jun 2014 3.60p Actual
4th Interim 26 Feb 2014 28 Mar 2014 4.50p Actual
3rd Interim 20 Nov 2013 18 Dec 2013 3.30p Actual
2nd Interim 21 Aug 2013 18 Sep 2013 3.30p Actual
1st Interim 22 May 2013 18 Jun 2013 3.30p Actual
2nd Interim 27 Feb 2013 28 Mar 2013 7.20p Actual
1st Interim 22 Aug 2012 14 Sep 2012 6.00p Actual
2nd Interim 29 Feb 2012 30 Mar 2012 6.55p Actual
1st Interim 26 Aug 2011 16 Sep 2011 5.45p Actual
2nd Interim 02 Mar 2011 01 Apr 2011 6.50p Actual
1st Interim 25 Aug 2010 17 Sep 2010 4.40p Actual
2nd Interim 03 Mar 2010 01 Apr 2010 6.20p Actual
1st Interim 26 Aug 2009 11 Sep 2009 4.30p Actual
2nd Interim 04 Mar 2009 03 Apr 2009 5.90p Actual
1st Interim 13 Aug 2008 05 Sep 2008 4.30p Actual
    Please note that the dates and amounts for dividends not yet paid could be subject to change.

    There is strength in numbers

    Portfolio breakdown

    Regional breakdown
    Top 20 holdings
    Sector breakdown

    Regional Breakdown (%)

    UK 35
    North America 25
    Europe 20
    Far East 13
    Japan 5
    Other 2
    Data as at 31.10.2018.

    Top 20 Holdings (%)

    Syncona 2.2
    Apax Global Alpha 1.9
    Vonovia 1.9
    Unilever 1.6
    Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 1.5
    Electra Private Equity 1.4
    Delta Air Lines 1.4
    BlackRock World Mining Trust 1.3
    Lloyds Banking 1.2
    Diageo 1.2
    Charter Communications 1.1
    London Stock Exchange 1.1
    JP Morgan 1.1
    Bank of America 1.0
    Alphabet 0.9
    Schroders 0.9
    Princess Private Equity 0.9
    RELX 0.9
    Cigna 0.9
    BT 0.8
    On a combined basis across managers. Data as at 31.10.2018.

    Sector Breakdown (%)

    Financials 27.1
    Consumer Services 16.5
    Industrials 14.3
    Consumer Goods 13.1
    Technology 10.8
    Health Care 6.8
    Other 9.7
    Open Ended Funds 0.7
    Equity Index Futures 1.2
    Cash / Bonds -0.2
    Data as at 31.10.2018.

    The Witan portfolio is published each month with a three month lag and so it is possible that the Company is no longer invested in some of those stocks listed. 

    Investment performance

    Select period:

    Absolute performance
    Relative performance

    5 year performance (%)

    Benchmark

    Witan’s benchmark is a composite of 30% FTSE All-Share, 25% FTSE All-World North America, 20% FTSE All-World Asia Pacific, 20% FTSE All-World Europe (ex UK), 5% FTSE All-World Emerging Markets. From 01.10.2007 to 31.12.2016 the benchmark was 40% FTSE All-Share, 20% FTSE All-World North America, 20% FTSE All-World Europe (ex UK) and 20% FTSE All-World Asia Pacific. Source: FTSE International Limited (“FTSE”). FTSE is a trade mark of the London Stock Exchange Group companies and is used by FTSE under license. For more information go to Legal Information.

    Source: Morningstar / Witan, total return includes the notional reinvestment of dividends. Annualised figures updated each calendar quarter.

    The Net Asset Value figures value debt at fair value and include the notional reinvestment of dividends.

    Total Performance (%)

    3 m 6 m 1 yr 3 yrs 5 yrs 10 yrs
    Share Price (Total Return) -7.8 -2.1 -0.9 41.2 75.2 299.1
    Net Asset Value (Total Return) -7.8 -1.8 -1.6 42.9 63.0 247.6
    Benchmark (Total Return) -5.8 -0.7 -0.2 40.4 51.9 197.7
    Data as at 31.10.2018.

    Discrete performance (%)

    Q3 2013 Q3 2014 Q3 2014 Q3 2015 Q3 2015 Q3 2016 Q3 2016 Q3 2017 Q3 2017 Q3 2018
    Share Price (Total Return) 16.0 6.4 16.5 24.8 10.5
    Net Asset Value (Total Return) 8.6 3.7 25.0 19.2 9.6
    Benchmark (Total Return) 8.1 -0.7 24.8 15.3 9.1

    Please remember, past performance is not a guide to future performance, and the value of shares and the income from them can rise and fall, so investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

    Investment Managers

    10% 5% 5% 8% 6% 8% 15% 14% 15% 11% 4%
    Source: Witan, data as at 31.10.2018. Total may not sum to 100% due to rounding.