Please remember that the value of a stock market investment and any income from it can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the amount invested.
This article originally featured in Baillie Gifford’s Spring 2020 issue of Trust magazine.
Mark Zuckerberg has just created Facebook in his Harvard University dorm. The EU has expanded by 10 states. President George W Bush is fighting for re-election amid growing doubts about the Iraq War. Gordon Brown is still Chancellor.
Welcome back to June 2004, the month that Trust was born. Forty editions later the world, UK investment trusts, Baillie Gifford and the magazine itself all look very different.
When Trust was launched The Scottish American Investment Company (SAINTS), formed in 1873, and the much younger Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust were recent additions to Baillie Gifford’s portfolio. The firm had £27 billion in funds under management as at 31 March 2004. Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, then as now the largest of our trusts, managed £1.1 billion. On 31 December 2019, the figures were £219 billion and £8.2 billion respectively.
The decision to launch a magazine “to improve customer communication” may not seem that radical for 15 years ago. But profile-raising and promoting the investment trust portfolio were still new priorities for the then 96-year-old firm.
This drive to speak directly to individuals as well as to industry professionals was well-timed. The rise of self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) and regulatory changes following the Retail Distribution Review, launched in 2006, encouraged more private investors to consider investment trusts. Increased media coverage of the sector coincided with the rise of online investment platforms providing easier access to shares.
“Before Trust we had a tradition of not putting information out to the public,” remembers Richard Burns, then Baillie Gifford’s senior partner, who wrote the Welcome article for the first issue. “It was more ‘keep your head down and don’t tempt fate’.
“Insofar as we had been doing promotional stuff before that, it was with intermediaries, whether in the retail space or with pension consultants.”
Also featured in that first issue was an interview with Scottish Mortgage manager James Anderson, reflecting on the “tough three years” for the trust following the tech crash in 2000. Describing a new world of “radical uncertainty”, he set out what was to become the predominant theme of the magazine:
“I hope we’ve learnt to stand back from the noise of the stock market and that people will excuse us if it goes wrong over short time periods as long as we are taking sensible economic decisions for the long term.”
Along with accelerating technological and market developments, expect to read much more from our investment managers about the companies changing the world in the next 40 issues and far beyond.
Investments with exposure to overseas securities can be affected by changing stock market conditions and currency exchange rates. Investing in emerging markets is only suitable for those investors prepared to accept a higher level of risk. This is because difficulties in dealing, settlement and custody could arise, resulting in a negative impact on the value of your investment. Trust sizes quoted are net assets.
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a particular investment. The article contains information and opinion on investments that does not constitute independent investment research, and is therefore not subject to the protections afforded to independent research.
Some of the views expressed are not necessarily those of Baillie Gifford. Investment markets and conditions can change rapidly, therefore the views expressed should not be taken as statements of fact nor should reliance be placed on them when making investment decisions.
A Key Information Document is available by visiting www.bailliegifford.com
46021 IND WE 1599
Colin is deputy editor of Trust, having joined Baillie Gifford in 2018. He is a former business editor of the Sunday Herald and has worked as a lecturer and journalist in Japan.