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Active Witan added to Numis core

Multi-manager investment trust Witan’s move towards more active fund managers has led research firm Numis Securities to include it as a core recommendation on its investment company recommendations list.

Numis was historically reluctant to recommend Witan due to lacklustre performance and more than half of the portfolio being invested in trackers.

The research firm believes the trust is a more attractive proposition in the global growth sector since Andrew Bell became chief executive in February 2010.

Bell has been making changes to improve performance, such as investing with more active managers and increasing Witan’s gearing, which stands at around 12 per cent but is unlikely to go beyond 15 per cent.

The trust invests around 9 per cent in a growth portfolio of listed funds selected by Witan’s management. The manager does not currently want to take this above 10 per cent but there could be scope to increase the weighting to 15 per cent once it can demonstrate added value.

Numis Securities head of investment companies research Charles Cade says: “The fund’s performance has improved over the past three years relative both to the peer group and to market indices. In addition, we see little or no downside to the current discount of 9 per cent due to the active buyback policy.”

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