Investment Companies Monthly Roundup

Kindly sponsored by Baillie Gifford and Aberdeen Standard Investments


January’s median total share price return from investment companies was (0.2%) (the average was 0.6%), which compares with 4.4% in December 2020. The continued allure of the private companies accessible via the growth capital sector was evident as the year began for that sector where it had left it off, on the front foot. The UK’s speedy rollout of vaccines, to-date, and a final decision on Brexit, brought flows into several UK-focused sectors.

Best performing sectors over January

Please refer to the ‘appendix’ section for a comprehensive list of sector-specific performance. Readers interested in the most recent briefings from the industry can click here to access our economic and political roundup.

Worst performing sectors over January

On the positive side:

The year started where it left off, with growth in the ascendency, and China-focused strategies continuing their ascent. Baillie Gifford’s private company-focused Schiehallion fund, which is listed on the Specialist Funds Segment, topped performance. China is coming out of the pandemic in a stronger position and its domestic equity market has been flourishing. The three country-specialist funds (Baillie Gifford China Growth, Fidelity China Special Situations, JPMorgan China Growth and Income) all benefitted while Pacific Horizon made its now customary appearance in the ‘winners’ section. UK small caps started the year well, with investors riding-off the sentiment-shaping Brexit resolution and impressive vaccine rollout themes to find value in Miton UK Microcap and Schroder UK Public Private. Sectors that were heavily discounted in 2020, like debt and commercial property, participated too, with price rises helping to narrow discounts. BMO Real Estate rose after an uplift in NAV calmed nerves.

RTW Venture had a busy month, participating in a funding round held by Biomea Fusion, a US-based privately held precision oncology company. It also increased its investment in Immunocore, which was good news given that company’s recent IPO announcement.

On the negative side:

Golden Prospect Precious Metals led NAV declines, as the wider gold price declined by 2.7%, though this had little impact on the fund’s price and this squeezed its discount. Precious metals-linked investments remain popular vehicles for those concerned over the threat of inflation and those looking to hedge against a downward turn in markets.

Vietnam-focused funds gave up some of their gains from the previous year. Likewise, Japanese strategies sold off (Japanese smaller company-focused trusts had a particularly good 2020).

Discounts and premiums

More expensive relative to NAV:

RTW Venture, Schiehallion, and Golden Prospect Precious Metals were discussed in the ‘winners and losers’ section. Value and Indexed Property Income is a new property-focused incarnation of what was previously Value and Income.

Cheaper relative to NAV:

Profit-taking appears to have weighed on Manchester & London’s shares despite a significant injection of capital from the manager. While JPMorgan Global Core Real Assets moved to a discount over January, the shares were up sharply in early February after it called a further $35.5m of its committed capital, earmarked for investment into industrial/logistics assets. It also announced that its C share will be progressed before the summer.

Money in and out

Money coming in:

Fundraising was predictably quiet (VH Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities didn’t start trading until February). More funds are trying to launch, but amongst the existing cohort, Smithson led the way.

Money going out:

Scottish Mortgage ‘s buyback activity contributed to a narrowing of its premium from 5.3% to 0.5% over January. Gulf Investments shrank as 44% of shareholders opted for the exit in a tender held in December.


Here is a selection of what is coming up. Please refer to the Events section of our website for updates between now and when they are scheduled:

QuotedData’s Round the World Webinar series – Asia –  17 February 2021


Have you been listening to our weekly news round-up shows? Every Friday at 11 am we run through the more interesting bits of the week’s news and we usually have a special guest or two answering questions about a particular investment company.

And here is what is coming up:


Our Independent Guide to quoted investment companies is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to brush up on their knowledge of the investment companies’ sector.

Appendix – January median performance by sector

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