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Headline
27 Jul 2017
RNS press release - Half-year Report from Proactive Investors
24 Mar 2017
News - Alliance Trust hikes full year dividend 16% after agreeing deal to end dispute with Elliott from Proactive Investors
24 Mar 2017
RNS press release - Final Results from Proactive Investors
5 Dec 2016
RNS press release - Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
22 Jul 2016
RNS press release - Half-year Report from Proactive Investors
4 Mar 2016
News - Alliance Trust's NAV rises in "eventful year" from Proactive Investors
4 Mar 2016
RNS press release - Final Results from Proactive Investors
15 Feb 2016
News - Garrett-Cox leaves Alliance Trust from Proactive Investors
14 Jan 2016
News - Alliance Trust hires Lord Robert Smith as its new chairman from Proactive Investors
16 Dec 2015
RNS press release - Update on changes from Proactive Investors
27 Nov 2015
News - Alliance Trust's chair goes as shake-up continues from Proactive Investors
1 Oct 2015
News - Garrett-Cox vacates Alliance Trust board after shake-up from Proactive Investors
23 Jul 2015
News - Alliance promises more changes after "disappointing" first half from Proactive Investors
23 Jul 2015
RNS press release - Half Yearly Report from Proactive Investors
14 May 2015
News - Alliance Trust Savings acquires Stocktrade for £14m from Proactive Investors
28 Apr 2015
News - UPDATE - Alliance Trust gets on board with Elliott from Proactive Investors
27 Apr 2015
News - Elliott 'confident' as Alliance feud nears finale from Proactive Investors
20 Apr 2015
News - Investors impatient for shares in Woodford Patient Capital Trust from Proactive Investors
17 Apr 2015
News - UPDATE - Alliance Trust makes new plea for shareholder backing from Proactive Investors
14 Apr 2015
News - Alliance Trust steps up search for new non-exec from Proactive Investors
2 Apr 2015
News - Alliance and Elliott feud heats up ahead of AGM from Proactive Investors
20 Mar 2015
News - UPDATE - Alliance Trust fires back at activist Elliott from Proactive Investors
16 Mar 2015
News - Elliot Advisors turns up heat on Alliance Trust from Proactive Investors
6 Mar 2015
RNS press release - Final Results from Proactive Investors
5 Mar 2015
RNS press release - Transaction in Own Shares from Proactive Investors
4 Mar 2015
RNS press release - Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
3 Mar 2015
RNS press release - Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
28 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
25 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
25 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Transaction in Own Shares from Proactive Investors
24 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Director/PDMR Shareholding from Proactive Investors
24 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
24 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Transaction in Own Shares from Proactive Investors
23 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
22 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
21 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
18 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
17 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
16 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
15 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
14 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
11 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Director/PDMR Shareholding from Proactive Investors
11 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
11 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Transaction in Own Shares from Proactive Investors
10 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
9 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
8 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Director/PDMR Shareholding from Proactive Investors
8 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors
7 Feb 2011
RNS press release - DJ Alliance Trust PLC Net Asset Value(s) from Proactive Investors

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Re: Alliance Trust dreams of multi-manager g... by In the dark yet again

  Wed, 03 May 2017 11:16:00 GMT

Ben,

What can I say? I've still got plenty of ATST so still very interested but the article paints a very one sided picture of what has actually happened.

The trust was sleepy for many a year, one of it's great attractions to many of us at the time. It's holdings weren't that dissimilar to the FTSE100 with few 250 stocks chucked in for good luck (but relatively small in size) and it's total (and I mean total) annual cost were around 25bp. When you could pick it up at 15% sometimes 20% discount that meant that the yield pick up from buying the index at that discount more than paid for the expenses - a less than zero cost tracker in disguise. Not everyone's cup of tea, certainly not IFAs or anyone selling/marketing investments as no income for them, but brilliant for an investor who wanted general equity risk (& return) but didn't want to pick stocks themselves.

Then KGC. Well that upset the apple cart. Costs through the roof, no small part down to her compensation package but a plan to become a 'player' in the broker market - not what I wanted but difficult to stop her.

Anyway performance did fall off, mainly due to the costs and the discount widened as a result. Me, still buying as the NAV was just about holding up to scratch, other fund managers/administrators fees/costs were just as bad and, at the end of the day, the wider the discount, the better when buying (as long as the NAV is holding up to a decent benchmark).

That article has some facts in it but is biased as hell from the 1st word.

"Alliance Trust dreams of 'multi-manager' gold after years holding wooden spoon"
1. Be careful of what you wish for - I have no problem with trusts managing their assets in house, Berkshire Hathaway being an example of in house asset management (and let's face it, BRK is an investment trust albeit one that often takes controlling stakes in it's investments)
2. Dream of Gold - indeed, why not? But dreams don't always come true
3. Years of the wooden spoon - hope this like works.
LINK
ATST vs FTSE100 last 5 years. OK the divi on the market has been slightly higher than from ATST but not by much and certainly nowhere near enough to explain that kind of out performance. ATST haven't been top of the class by any means but the wooden spoon is definitely somewhere else.

Anyway, I could rip holes in that article left, right and centre but, long story short - It's written by friends of the investment management businesses. WTW will earn fees for managing the portfolio. ATST can only justify that by getting of the in house 'costs' then they have no internal people capable so have to keep paying fees to external managers. Great for the big fund management business, bad for ordinary investors IMO. If WTW are so good, why haven't they got their own ITs (and/or funds) out there that the whole world is flocking to in massive droves?

This is giving up. IMO a very, very bad idea. It's not going to happen but either sack everybody, wind the trust up and return NAV (less 1% or so costs) to the shareholders then resign and turn the lights out as you leave...

or maybe go back, run it simply, as cheaply as possible, pick an index, basically match it while looking for the odd opportunity on the side - nickel and dimming we used to call it but a way of beating a benchmark by by a touch even after costs. Not very exciting but consistent. Not everyone's cup of tea but it setting a standard and keeping it would put them in a small minority of maybe 5% of all Investment Trusts out there - not necessarily in the top 5% performing trusts but 'did what we said we would 5%'.

or get in some talent and manage it!

As for 'Willis Towers Watson....has been told t


By In the dark yet again



Alliance Trust dreams of multi-manager gold by Ben Alligin

  Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:55:00 GMT

From: LINK

Alliance Trust dreams of 'multi-manager' gold after years holding wooden spoon

Global trust begins new era under multi-manager specialist Willis Towers Watson, which has been told to deliver index-beating returns.

Alliance Trust (ATST ) hopes a new era of 'multi-manager' investing will boost shareholder returns after the global investment trust underperformed its stock market benchmark last year.

The trust's portfolio posted a net asset value total return of 21.5%, well above the 5.4% achieved in 2015 but behind the 29.4% return from the MSCI All Country World index.

In its 2016 annual results the Dundee-based company blamed its previous managers at Alliance Trust Investments, which it is in the process of selling to Liontrust.

Stock selection, particularly in financials, accounted for most of the performance shortfall, but an 'overweight' position in healthcare stocks, which suffered last year, and an 'underweight' stance in energy companies, which rallied with a rebound in the oil price, also held back returns.

Alliance believes its decision to appoint Willis Towers Watson (WTW) as its new investment manager following a strategic review will allow it to avoid the vagaries of single fund managers in future.

WTW will run Alliance's £2.6 billion portfolio with a ‘high conviction, multi-manager approach’, meaning it will appoint a panel of eight different fund managers to run portions of its assets using their best investment ideas.

It has been told to to beat the MSCI AC World index by 2% a year.

Speaking to shareholders last month before their appointment was approved, Craig Baker, global chief investment officer at WTW, said using a conventional single manager left investors hoping they could find a superb all-round athlete like Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill (pictured), winner of heptathlon gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

Although Ennis-Hill's achievement had been unforgettable, Baker argued a multi-manager arrangement was superior as it held out the possibility of hiring a team of Olympian-level specialists.

‘If you had the luxury of a team made up of seven individual specialists – producing seven medals not just one and seven better results, which would you go for?’

Alliance has had a difficult two years following a battle with US hedge fund Elliott Advisors over underperformance that ultimately led to the ousting of chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox last year.

Chairman Lord Robert Smith (pictured below), who now leads a new board completely staffed by independent non-executive directors, said the 'appetite for global equity' remained strong but that the trust needed to change and improve performance.

'The board and the new investment manager will now focus on delivering real returns for shareholders through a combination of capital growth and a rising dividend,' he said.

Richard Troue, head of investment analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, the funds supermarket, said the results were ‘disappointing’ but hoped the new investment approach would ‘deliver a fresh start for the trust’.

He added that the pressure will be on to meet the new outperformance target ‘in order to vindicate the strategic review, not to mention turning around several lacklustre years of performance, and justifying an increase in charges to boot’.

‘We believe the change in strategy is entirely sensible on paper, although it will be several years before we truly know if it is adding value in practice,’ said Troue.

Kieran Drake, investment companies analyst at Winterflood Securities, said the appointment of WTW was a positive step although he believed the trust was no longer the bargain it was following a narrowing of the discount.

The gap between Alliance's share price and its underlying net asset value (NAV) had stood at just over 8% at the start of last year but reduce


By Ben Alligin



Re: Today's Telegraph by Ben Alligin

  Fri, 03 Mar 2017 19:36:00 GMT

I asked HL about voting, and, yes, I can do this, but it's up to me to find out what is being voted on and when. They don't pass on any documents sent out by the company.

By Ben Alligin



Re: AGM results by trader jack

  Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:15:00 GMT

Just a thought

Did Elliott get to vote on the resolutions?

Given their holding together with those of the Board is it any wonder that the small private investors views were marginalised?

TJ


By trader jack



Re: AGM results by valeite

  Wed, 01 Mar 2017 20:50:00 GMT

The Donalda lunatic? i think he's doing ok

By valeite



Re: AGM results by In the dark yet again

  Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:43:00 GMT

It was inevitable, me voting against it making not the slightest little bit of difference (as usual).

Market reaction? The $ strengthens (maybe more due to Trump sounding almost reasonable rather than the usual lunatic), the S&P up 1.5%, FTSE100 up 1.6% and ATSTrecord highs but less than 1.2%. Haven't done the arithmetic yet but instinct says that discount is now more than 5%.

Regards,
ITDYA wishing he had got some away yesterday and wondering why the hell he didn't.


By In the dark yet again



AGM results by trader jack

  Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:00:00 GMT

28 February 2017

ALLIANCE TRUST PLC
Result of General Meeting

The Board of Alliance Trust PLC (the "Company") is pleased to announce that all resolutions put forward at a General Meeting of the Company earlier today were passed.

The proposal that the Company should change its investment mandate for the equity portfolio to a multi-manager approach has therefore been adopted. Arrangements for the new approach will now be finalised. It is expected that the Company's new investment manager, Willis Towers Watson[i] and the eight new underlying equity managers will have been formally appointed by early April. The Board will provide updates on this process as and when appropriate.

The proposal that the Company should repurchase all Ordinary Shares in the Company in respect of which Elliott International L.P., the Liverpool Limited Partnership and Elliott Associates L.P. (collectively "Elliott", the Company's largest beneficial shareholders) has a disclosable interestii, has also been approved. In accordance with the terms of the Repurchase Agreement between the Company and Elliott, Elliott's Shares will be bought back in five tranches, in each case at a price representing a 4.75 per cent. discount to the Net Asset Value per Ordinary Share on the business day immediately preceding the relevant trade date.

Authority was also received from shareholders for the Company to increase its share buyback authority by a further five per cent. The Board remains committed to its proactive approach to buying back Ordinary Shares, and going forward is prepared to do so at or around the same discount level as that of the share repurchase from Elliott so long as it is in shareholders' best interests.

Commenting on the announcement, Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of Alliance Trust PLC, said:

"The Board is pleased to announce that all resolutions have been passed, and, in particular, is delighted by the 96% level of shareholder support for the new approach to investment management.

The aim of the new approach is to achieve consistent outperformance at a competitive cost, with a progressive dividend policy. The focus of the Board and the new investment manager is to deliver on those ambitions for many generations to come."

A summary of the votes cast in respect of the resolutions is set out below.
Resolution Votes for % Votes against % Votes withheld
1 Authority to repurchase from Elliott 118,868,085 77.29 34,920,649 22.71 53,564,162
2 Authority to buyback up to 95,478,576 shares in accordance with Repurchase Agreement 172,229,633 83.41 34,265,850 16.59 756,783
3 Authority to increase buying back of own shares by 5% 202,613,623 97.87 4,406,037 2.13 333,113
4 Support to change to multi-manager investment mandate 146,478,103 96.03 6,057,385 3.97 54,813,426

In accordance with Listing Rule 9.6.2, the full text of resolutions 2 and 3, which were special resolutions, passed by the Company at its General Meeting today has been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism and will shortly be available for inspection at
LINK


By trader jack



Re: Today's Telegraph by Graham Morrice

  Wed, 01 Mar 2017 12:28:00 GMT

Ben
I don't know why you didn't get a chance to vote. I gave HL my instructions yesterday (against the amendments proposed in my case) who assured me these would be amalgamated with others' views and forwarded to BLVN. Your late post? (Mine came last Saturday.)

GM


By Graham Morrice



Re: Today's Telegraph by Ben Alligin

  Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:57:00 GMT

Being a long-term ATST shareholder, I was looking forward to getting a chance to vote on the proposals. However, as my ISA is now with HL, I didn't get that opportunity.

I probably would have voted against the proposal to increase yet further the buy-backs, as the trust has shrunk enough. I know that buy-backs at a discount of 5% enhance the NAV a little, but the cost of running the trust won't reduce all that much, so I'm not convinced of the benefits. I was comfortable with a discount in the region of 10-15%, knowing that I was getting an enhanced yield and wasn't concerned about fluctuations in the discount over a long time.

I would probably also have voted against the proposal for a multi-manager mandate as it complicates matters and increases costs, and again I'm not convinced of the benefits.


By Ben Alligin



Re: Today's Telegraph by In the dark yet again

  Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:25:00 GMT

Favouritism: yes, an issue for me. Not just in this case but in every case where one shareholder is 'favoured' with a special deal not offered to all - all shares are equal but some are more equal than others it seems.

And every time it's either some City insider (e.g. a placement to an institution at a discount) or one of the big 'private' investors. The problem here (IMO) is that, to offer this same deal to all risks everyone taking it and the trust being wound up as a result - Wind up the trust? If it meant getting NAV less a percent for costs I wouldn't be crying - all mine are SIPPed but it would be an issue to know how best to reinvest a chunk of change that large quickly as I wouldn't want it hanging around in cash for long.

But they are not going to do that, any more than turkeys would vote for Christmas. Best hope as far as I can see is for the board to adopt a long-term discount management plan with the funding coming from either debt (hopefully only in a rising market and good luck to them if they can time that right every time - if they could there would never be a problem with a discount!)) or further disposals.

Funding by asset disposal means a smaller market cap but spread over fewer shares as those bought back are cancelled. That keeps that side of the equation in balance (on paper might even improve it a touch as they will only be selling 95.25p worth of shares to cancel £1), Dividend similarly unaffected. However there is a problem in that, as the overall value of the trust shrinks, the overheads rarely tend to shrink as quickly (if at all).

As for the outsourcing, yes, they have abdicated the key responsibility of any pooled investment. Then again, if it's done at minimal cost, leaving them to concentrate on getting all other overhead down to as near zero as possible. dream on - the fees they will pay to Towers Waston (suggested as fair during the review by.... Towers Watson) are way too high and the management aren't going to sack 2/3rds of themselves and a big chunk of the staff.

Me, still looking for any/every opportunity of offload chunks anytime I can calculate the real-time discount at about 4.75% but where to put the proceeds? I know, loads of opportunities but ATST has, over many years, been a safe place for my pension money about which I've rarely had to worry and, in reality, after careful count back, despite the KGC costs, my investment has beaten the FTSE100, all dividends reinvested - not by much but 'net, net, cash in, cash out, better than the market' is a feat very few achieve then again, that's probably only because for years I was salting money away at 15% and higher discount and now all of this is being valued at about 5.

Better lucky than clever but definitely a moment to be thinking very seriously as luck has a habit of running out.

Regards,
ITDYA


By In the dark yet again



Re: Today's Telegraph by LK Hyman

  Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:20:00 GMT

TJ,

"Unfortunately CGT would take quite a chunk if I sold any more."

Bless!

"that has to have a rather large and sudden impact on future dividends, or is Alliance Trust somehow going to invest in itself? Or have I got it all wrong?"

I'm not an expert in ATST, especially now that the fragrant KGC has left the building, but surely the Elliott shares will be cancelled? So there should be a good opportunity for ATST (or, more likely, their highly paid locust "advisers" LOL) to raise the wonga for Elliott by dumping the dross part of their portfolio, which would leave 'em free to maintain the divi on the reduced share base or even raise it if the dross happened to be low yield stuff innit?

Personally I'd never touch ATST with a bargepole now that they've abdicated their responsibility for throwing darts at the board to the afore-mentioned locusts.

LKH on the flybridge


By LK Hyman



Re: Today's Telegraph by trader jack

  Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:11:00 GMT

Good afternoon alandwd,

I have sold out some of my holdings of ATST. Unfortunately CGT would take quite a chunk if I sold any more. I have also sold out my grandchildrens' JISA's and reinvested temporarily in HSBA.

The big problem as I see it is that nobody seems willing to highlight is what likely to happen to the ATST share price and NAV after Elliotts have fled the scene with all their bags filled to the brim with their loot!

I did a rough calculation and by the time Alliance Trust has bought Elliott out, forget us lowly private investors, Alliance Trust might have had to sell about 20percent of their current holdings just to provide the booty for Elliotts. Now that has to have a rather large and sudden impact on future dividends, or is Alliance Trust somehow going to invest in itself? Or have I got it all wrong?

If someone somewhere, just thought to tell everything as it is rather than just sweep it under the carpet I am sure that more of us poor investors would be happy to stay with ATST.

By the way Alliance handed out a list of all shareholders in ATST to some marketing company to assess the way shareholders might vote. They did not care too much about how they went about this. My daughter took a telephone call with someone wanting to speak to my 8 year old grandson to find out how he would vote! Can't they get anything right?

KGC has a lot to answer for even though she has been flushed down the system!

TJ


By trader jack



Re: Today's Telegraph by alandwd

  Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:02:00 GMT

"more diverse shareholders"=people in nominee accounts such as ATS who won't vote or will vote the way we'd like them to.

I'm glad murmors are being heard. Ownership of shares here has been akin to quiet financial rape. In about 2000, someone spotted a huge pool of assets with minimal annual cost, that they could get their hands on and increase the fees, share the joy between their friends and know that they probably wouldn't be spotted. I really hope all shareholders are offered the same deal and I speak as someone who sold out a rather large holding during the recent rises.


By alandwd



Today's Telegraph by trader jack

  Sun, 26 Feb 2017 14:48:00 GMT


Alliance Trust faces revolt over share buy-back 'favouritism’


An attempt by the investment fund Alliance Trust to put an end to years of turbulence will face protests from shareholders this week over alleged ­favouritism and conflicts of interest.

The Dundee-based company has asked investors to approve a £620m buyback deal with the aggressive US activist investor Elliott Management, which holds nearly a fifth of its shares. Alliance aims to buy back the shares in five tranches, allowing Elliott to cash in its stake more easily and ending its running battles with the board.

However, institutional investors are poised to vote against the plan at a general meeting on Tuesday, after a critical report from the voting adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).
ADVERTISING

In a note to clients, ISS said shareholders should reject the proposal “due to favourable treatment of the company’s largest shareholder… whilst others are not presented with a similar exit opportunity”. ISS highlighted the fact that Elliott will be able to offload its shares at the lowest discount to the net value of Alliance’s assets in five years.

Alliance has also been forced to defend the appointment of Willis Towers Watson as its equity portfolio manager, part of a plan to cut costs by outsourcing fund management. It sparked controversy and criticism from ISS, as Willis Towers Watson also advised the company during the strategic review that led to its own appointment.
ftse
Willis Towers Watson was appointed Alliance Trust's equity portfolio manager

Alliance told shareholders last week it believed there was no conflict of interest and that Willis Towers Watson’s role in the strategic review had been clearly defined. It is understood, however, that the decision has caused concern at some of the company’s largest institutional shareholders, who could vote against the proposal.

In a letter to ISS seen by The Sunday Telegraph, Alliance attacked the adviser’s analysis of the buyback and accused ISS of basing its recommendations on “factual inaccuracies”.
"Opposition from ISS is a blow to Alliance’s hopes of a quiet end to one of the most difficult periods in its 129-year history."

Alliance told ISS the proposals had been positively received by others and that other shareholders were free to tender their shares to a buyback programme on comparable terms.

Opposition from ISS, which can sway a fifth of typical UK shareholder register, is a blow to Alliance’s hopes of a quiet end to one of the most difficult periods in its 129-year history. Beginning in 2010, the attack from Elliott on its performance, costs, executive remuneration and structure has triggered changes including the exit of chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox.

Alliance will count on the fact it has a more diverse shareholder register than most large companies, with thousands of individual investors. ShareSoc, which advises small investors on voting, has backed the buyback saying it would “avoid future pressure” by Elliott and “appears to be at a fair price”.


By trader jack



Re: Sold by trader jack

  Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:46:00 GMT

Hi Global IT Man,

As explainedin some posts about two weeks ago, I am very much in the same boat as you regarding CGT but I fail to see how the repurchase of all Elliotts shareholdings and CfD's by Alliance Trust will not cost us shareholders.

I have been quite happy with ATST shares for over 25 years now, but I wonder if we are being told the whole story about the effect these purchases will have on ATST SP and discount over the coming weeks and months.

Kind regards

TJ


By trader jack