Witan takes over F&C Pacific trust

The Aberdeen investment management team will be led by Hugh Young, Peter Haines and Graham Sinclair. Nomura’s portion of the trust assets will be run by Yuichi Murao in Tokyo and Graham Muirhead in Singapore.

WIS managing director James Budden says: “We are managing the managers. The trust’s board meets only six to eight times a year and we will constantly monitor the managers’ performance, as well as providing marketing, accounting and secretariat services for the trust. There were issues with the previous team. The mandate and benchmark will stay the same and the objective is to outperform the index, but not shoot the lights out.”

He says the board is keen on the blend of managers and describes the Aberdeen investment style as more volatile than Nomura’s, complementing each other’s styles well. Aberdeen’s Young (pictured) says his team is well placed to exploit the renewed confidence he sees in Asia and stronger economic growth from the region.

The £215m trust, currently run by F&C Management’s Mike Hanbury-Williams, was launched in 1907. The fund is primarily invested in Japanese equities, which made up 53% of the trust’s assets at February 28.

The next largest geographic allocation is in Australian companies (13%). Top three holdings are Toyota Motor, Takeda Pharmaceutical and BHP Billiton. The trust is currently about 6% geared and trades at a discount of 12.6% to net asset value.

A tender offer will be made as part of the management change on up to 50% of issued share capital. The offer is priced at a discount of 4.5% to net asset value. All directors of the trust have indicated they will not be tendering their shares.

The change in the trust’s name and tender offer are subject to shareholder approval. The board will be holding an extraordinary general meeting in May.