1. Overview

    Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon aims to achieve long-term capital growth principally through investment in small Japanese companies which are believed to have above average prospects for capital growth.

    The value of investments and any income from them may go down as well as up and you or your client may not get back the amount originally invested.
  2. About the Trust

    Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon PLC was launched in July 1985 in order to capitalise on the investment opportunity available among companies too small and illiquid for Baillie Gifford Japan Trust PLC, which had been launched successfully four years before. Shin Nippon, which means New Japan, has as its objective the pursuit of long-term capital growth principally through investment in small Japanese companies which are believed to have above average prospects for capital growth.

    There are several reasons why we believe the Japanese small capitalisation universe can be considered a particularly attractive asset class. First, many of the most interesting emerging service sectors in Japan, which are growing fast owing to corporate outsourcing and government deregulation, such as temporary labour provision and nursing care, consist entirely of small companies. Second, in certain sectors such as retail and finance the companies with the best niche positions, growth prospects and management teams tend to be small. Third, broker coverage of these stocks can be minimal, giving our Japanese team substantial potential to add value against the market through in-house research.

    The investment trusts managed by Baillie Gifford & Co Limited are listed UK companies. The value of their shares, and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the amount invested.

    Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon is an investment company within the meaning of section 833 of the Companies Act 2006. Registered in Scotland. Registered number: SC93345. Registered office: Calton Square, 1 Greenside Row, Edinburgh, EH1 3AN.

  3. Meet the Trust Manager

  4. Meet our Directors

    M Neil Donaldson - Chairman

    Neil Donaldson was appointed a Director in 2014 and became Chairman in 2015. Mr Donaldson has been chairman of James Donaldson & Sons Limited, an independent Fife based timber merchants, since 1985. He is also deputy chairman of the R&A general committee. Formerly the chairman of Securities Trust of Scotland, he served on its board from 2005 until 2017 and has more than 17 years’ experience of the investment trust sector. He also holds appointments with several charities.

    P Francis Charig - Director

    Francis Charig was appointed a Director in 2005. He has considerable knowledge of the technology, information and financial sectors in Japan gained from his time amongst others, at the London Stock Exchange as Head of the TSBU, as chairman & CEO of Tao Group and as the chairman of the Open Contents Platform Association based in Tokyo. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer in 2006. He is currently active on the boards of several early stage businesses, investment advisory business, Harinezumi Ltd., sports information company, BetWiz Sports Ltd. and instant messaging company IMOK Media Ltd.

    Iain A McLaren CA - Director

    Iain McLaren was appointed a Director in 2009 and is Chairman of the Audit Committee. He has extensive experience of financial reporting, auditing, corporate governance and general management. He retired from KPMG in 2008 having been a partner for 27 years and was senior partner in Scotland from 1999 to 2004. He is currently senior independent director and chairman of the audit committee of Cairn Energy Plc. He is also chairman of F&C UK High Income Trust Plc, non-executive director of Edinburgh Dragon Trust plc and Ecofin Global Utilities and Infrastructure Trust plc and a director of Jadestone Energy.

    Simon CN Somerville - Director

    Simon Somerville was appointed a Director in 2010. He has over 27 years’ experience in Japanese and Asian equities. Having worked for over 14 years at Cazenove Fund Management, latterly as the head of Global Equities, he joined Jupiter Asset Management in 2005 where he was Strategy Head of Japan Equities. He is currently Portfolio Manager with responsibility for Japan at Marathon Asset Management.

    Merryn R Somerset Webb - Director

    Merryn Somerset Webb was appointed a Director in 2011. She is the editor-in-chief of UK personal finance magazine MoneyWeek, writes for the Financial Times and is a radio and television commentator on financial matters. She has a strong interest in and knowledge of Japan and is a director of Montanaro European Smaller Companies Trust plc. She is also a trustee of The Super Power Agency.

    Professor Sethu Vijayakumar - Director

    Professor Vijayakumar is the Professor of Robotics at the University of Edinburgh and the Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. He is a world renowned roboticist, known for his scientific contribution to the data driven control of several iconic robotic platforms with his latest project involving a collaboration with the NASA Johnson Space Centre on the Valkyrie humanoid robot being prepared for unmanned robotic pre-deployment missions to Mars. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a judge on BBC Robot Wars and winner of the 2015 Tam Dalyell Prize for excellence in engaging the public with science. Sethu has strong ties with Japan having spent seven years in Tokyo during his PhD and postdoctoral training, still closely collaborates with several R&D firms and multinationals on translational research projects and is a fluent Japanese speaker.

  5. quote-icon
    In general, for the small companies that Shin Nippon invests in, we believe that the quality of management teams and their business strategies have more influence rather than macroeconomic factors.
  6. Objective

    Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon’s objective is to pursue long term capital growth through investment principally in small Japanese companies which are believed to have above average prospects for growth.The Board and Managers currently consider a small company to be one that has either market capitalisation or turnover less than ¥150 billion. The Company is classified by the AIC within its Japanese Smaller Companies sector.
  7. Investment Policy

    The portfolio is constructed through the identification of individual companies which offer long term growth potential, typically over a three to five year horizon. The portfolio is actively managed and does not seek to track the comparative index, hence a degree of volatility against the index is inevitable.

    In constructing the equity portfolio a spread of risk is achieved by diversifying the portfolio through investment in 40 to 75 holdings. Although sector concentration and the thematic characteristics of the portfolio are carefully monitored, there are no maximum limits to deviation from comparative index stock or sector weights.

    Holdings are limited to 5% of total assets at time of purchase. Any holding that, as a result of performance exceeds 5% of total assets is subject to particular scrutiny. A holding greater than 5% will continue to be held where the Managers are convinced of the ongoing merits of the investment case.

    The Company may invest in UK and Overseas domiciled pooled funds, including UK listed investment trusts, which invest principally in Japanese securities. On acquisition, no more than 15% of the Company’s gross assets will be invested in such companies or funds.

    From time to time, fixed interest holdings, or non equity investments, may be held on an opportunistic basis. The Company may use derivatives which will be principally, but not exclusively, for the purpose of efficient portfolio management (i.e. for the purpose of reducing, transferring or eliminating investment risk in its investments, including protection against currency risks).

    The Company recognises the long term advantages of gearing. Although the Company may have maximum equity gearing of 50% of shareholders’ funds, the Board would seek to have a maximum equity gearing level of 30% of shareholders’ funds at the time of drawdown.

    Borrowings are typically invested in securities when it is considered that investment grounds merit the Company taking a geared position to securities. Gearing levels, and the extent of equity gearing, are discussed by the Board and Managers at every Board meeting. The Managers are tasked with ensuring that gearing is managed efficiently and within the parameters set by the Board and any loan covenants.