Saints hopes manager move will end slide

The £340m Scottish American investment trust underperformed its benchmark last year, and from January 1 completed its management contract move to Baillie Gifford from First State. In its 2003 annual results, published last week, Saints’ net asset value rose by 14.8% in the 12 months to December 31. Its benchmark, a composite of 65% FTSE All-Share index and 35% FTSE World ex-UK index, rose by 17.1% over the period. In December, Saints’ board said it would change its management contract to Baillie Gifford. As part of that change the benchmark has been changed to 70% FTSE All-Share and 30% FTSE World ex-UK index. The trust also holds 9% in property. The board says the change in weighting will aim to improve the portfolio yield and contribute to a rising dividend yield. Last year the trust paid out 5.65p per ordinary share. Although this was an increase from the 5.61p paid in 2002, gross income from investments fell to £10.6m from £11.1m compared with 2002. Baillie Gifford now manages eight investment trusts with £2.7bn of assets, having also won the mandate for the Edinburgh Worldwide trust last year. As a result, the company is creating a new position as head of investment trust marketing for its trusts to increase demand, particularly through direct promotions.