Aberdeen Standard targets wealth managers in £590m trust revamp

Funds giant appoints co-manager and hires investment trust sales staff

Aberdeen Standard Investments has added Pruksa Iamthongthong as a co-manager as it shakes up the £590m Edinburgh Dragon Trust in order to attract more small wealth managers and self-directed investors.

Iamthongthong (pictured), an investment director at the funds giant, joins the £590m trust alongside Adrian Lim.

The trust is also rebranding as the Asia Dragon Trust and stepping up marketing efforts to target individual investors, a press release said. Marketing would highlight the trust as a “cornerstone investment in Asian equity markets within a balanced portfolio”.

The board said it already enjoys a strong relationship with institutions and wealth managers but saw an opportunity to grow demand from self-directed investors, who currently own around 13% of share capital. It will also target smaller wealth managers who build portfolios with investment trusts.

Trio of appointments to investment trusts team

Aberdeen Standard has bulked out its investment trusts sales team and product specialists to support the marketing boost.

Luke Mason has joined from JP Morgan Asset Management as head of business development for closed end funds.

Helen Renardson and Stephanie Hocking have joined as investment trust sales directors. Renardson joins from Peel Hunt while Hocking joins from Allianz Global Investors.

Following the Aberdeen Asset Management merger with Standard Life Investments, the trust can also draw on the expertise of Asia Pacific equity product specialists Ben Sheehan and Ben Morris.

Targeting new investors should reduce discount volatility and increase liquidity, the release said.

Edinburgh Dragon performance improves after rebalancing

Lim said over the last couple of years he has rebalanced the portfolio thanks to a re-evaluation of the trust’s approach to stock selection, buy-and-sell decisions and risk management. The overall risk profile had not been affected, he said.

“We felt that the quality of certain Chinese, Indonesian and Indian companies had improved to such an extent that we could safely include them within the trust’s portfolio. We were impressed with their leadership in respective fields, long-term focus and the strength of their local presence. These included companies such as Tencent, Ping An Insurance, Bank Central Asia and SBI Life Insurance; companies that we felt would further enhance our existing portfolio.”

The fund has outperformed the Investment Trust Asia ex Japan sector and the MSCI AC Asia ex Japan index over one and three years, but underperformed over five years, according to FE Analytics.

Edinburgh Dragon Trust plc performance

Edinburgh Dragon Trust plc18.8029.7354.50156.47
IT Asia Pacific12.2622.3255.65167.76
MSCI AC Asia ex Japan index11.8820.0455.97129.24
Source: FE Analytics

Iamthongthong said the fundamentals of most Asian economies remain resilient, despite sentiment taking a hit from the US/China trade conflict, the Hong Kong protests and the Japan-Korea dispute over Japan’s curbs on semi-conductor related exports to Korea.

The trust seeks “high quality companies with effective management, good cash flow and healthy balance sheets at attractive valuations”, she said.

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