By Lina Saigol
Scottish Mortgage has held on to its top spot as the most viewed investment trust of the year in the first six months of 2020, according to the Association of Investment Companies’ latest list of the 20 investment trusts that received the most website page views.
Traffic to the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) website was 24% higher in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2019. April set a record for visits to the site, with over 51,000 views during that month alone.
The number of page views a trust receives on the AIC’s website can signal which investment trusts investors have shown interest in. Investment trusts are publicly traded, closed-ended vehicles. Their shares trade at premium or discount to the book value of their underlying assets.
Managed by James Anderson, Scottish Mortgage /zigman2/quotes/204858474/delayed UK:SMT +1.20% , which is Baillie Gifford’s flagship investment trust, has returned 258.7% over the past five years on a net asset value (NAV) basis. That compares with the AIC global sector average of 118.4% over the same period. Scottish Mortgage is currently trading at a 3.1% premium to NAV.
As at July 6, 2020, Scottish Mortgage had total net assets of £13.8 billion, making it one of the UK’s largest investment trusts.
In second place is City of London /zigman2/quotes/202101016/delayed UK:CTY 0.00% . The investment company managed by Job Curtis has grown its dividend for 53 consecutive years. Murray International /zigman2/quotes/208501760/delayed UK:MYI -0.21% was the third most viewed investment company. Completing the top five were Merchants and Edinburgh Investment Trust /zigman2/quotes/202434349/delayed UK:MRCH +2.03% from the U.K. Equity Income sector.
“Investors are clearly hungry for income and we are unfortunately facing a dividend drought at the moment. That means investors are looking to invest in trusts because they have this ability to boost their dividends when times are tough,” Annabel Brodie-Smith, AIC’s communications director, said.
“The list of most viewed investment companies shows that income remains a top priority but it also demonstrates that investors have been attracted to a wide range of strategies from growth to capital preservation,” she added.
Unsurprisingly, dividend hero investment companies — those that have consistently grown their dividends for 20 or more years in a row — made up 11 of the top 20. A further five are ranked in the next generation of dividend heroes, having raised dividends for 10 or more consecutive years but less than 20.
U.K. equity investors have already lost out on billions in income after 48 companies in the FTSE 100 index have either cut, deferred or canceled dividends as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The forecast dividend payout for the FTSE 100 index in 2020 has plunged by 17% compared with 2019, according to AJ Bell’s latest Dividend Dashboard report. This means that, after an 11% fall last year, U.K. dividends have now hit the lowest levels since 2014.
There were six new entrants in the AIC’s list this year, having not appeared during the first half of 2019.
The new arrivals were: Allianz Technology /zigman2/quotes/206807305/delayed UK:ATT 0.00% (11th), Scottish Investment Trust /zigman2/quotes/203051900/delayed UK:SCIN +0.14% (14th), Law Debenture Corporation /zigman2/quotes/210041888/delayed UK:LWDB -1.55% (15th), BlackRock World Mining /zigman2/quotes/203891036/delayed UK:BRWM +0.36% (18th), BlackRock Throgmorton /zigman2/quotes/204335343/delayed UK:THRG +1.33% (19th) and RIT Capital Partners /zigman2/quotes/204110111/delayed UK:RCP +0.22% (20th).