Investment Companies Monthly Roundup

Kindly sponsored by Baillie Gifford and Aberdeen Standard Investments

[QD revision: We have amended an error in the original version of the roundup, published on 14 January. The table displaying December’s worst performers in total return NAV terms, using figures sourced from Morningstar, incorrectly listed Augmentum Fintech’s return as (4.1%). Augmentum’s last published NAV, on 2 December 2020, was to 30 September, so there was no change in NAV over December.]


December’s median total share price return from investment companies was 4.4% (the average was 5.1%), which compares with 9.2% last month. Over 2020, median returns increased by 2.7%, to complete a remarkable turnaround, having shed (23.5%) over the first quarter of 2020.

Best performing sectors over December

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 December

On the positive side:

Geiger Counter benefitted from a strong bounce in uranium prices over December while CQS Natural Resources Growth and Income and BlackRock World Mining’s presence reflected the wider bounce in energy markets, where positive vaccine developments and a period of relative weakness in the dollar were catalysts. It was a good month for several UK smaller companies-focused trusts, particularly those focused on the smallest companies, led by Miton UK Microcap, JPMorgan Smaller Companies, BlackRock Smaller Companies, River and Mercantile UK Micro Cap.

Similarly, the growth capital sector proved popular, benefitting Chrysalis Investments (formerly Merian Chrysalis) and Schroder UK Public Private. Elsewhere, Herald, with its stable of small-cap largely tech-focused holdings based in the UK and US, also had a good month

On the negative side:

The decline in Augmentum Fintech’s shares represented a minor blip in an otherwise exceptional year for the financial sector disrupter-investing fund. Its shares increased by 30.8% over the calendar year.

It was a tough year for KKV Secured Loan, with its shares falling since late September after the board announced its intention to put forward proposals for a managed wind-down. JPEL Private Equity was the second-worst performer in price terms, though we note that it has started the year well. This has been led by its holding in the US financial guarantee insurance businesses company, MBIA.

Discounts and premiums

More expensive relative to NAV:

Chrysalis Investments was the best performer in the growth capital sector, with total NAV and market returns for the calendar of 41.9% and 52.8% more than twice that of Schiehallion. Electra Private Equity has had a proposed wind-down approved and is hoping to complete the sales of its TGI Fridays and Hotter Shoes assets by the year-end. The life sciences fund RTW Venture’s rating change was price-led, with the speed at which COVID vaccines have been developed shining new light on how quickly medicine can be developed, as well as the myriad of opportunities in areas such as gene-based medicine.

Cheaper relative to NAV:

KKV Secured Loan’s discount widening was discussed above. Elsewhere, Impax Environmental’s premium reduced after the price action did not keep up with the NAV increase over December. The fund is growing though and is amongst the best-placed to access the green energy theme.

Money in and out

Money coming in:

Greencoat Renewables raised €125m in an oversubscribed placing. Elsewhere, fundraising was led by Smithson, Edinburgh Worldwide, Monks, and Worldwide Healthcare.

Money going out:

Gulf Investment tendered 44% of its issued share capital while JPEL Private Equity completed a mandatory redemption. Other notable returners of capital were   Scottish Mortgage, Oakley Capital, and Witan.

Major news stories and QuotedData views over December

Portfolio developments:

Corporate news:

Managers and fees:

Property news:

QuotedData views:


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 – 3 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 – December median performance by sector

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