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Chip off the old block

As most advisers know, I am a great admirer of Close Brothers, both for its innovation and its investment expertise.

One of its products I particularly like is Close high-income properties or Chip. Since it started in 2003, the average return has been 11 per cent a year.

One of the reasons for this high return is that the company is registered in the Isle of Man to avoid double taxation. Close’s property expertise is also a major factor. It recently found an extremely good and potentially profitable office opportunity, buying nine properties from Gladman Developments which provide an initial yield of 7.3 per cent with a two-year rental guarantee on the unoccupied space.

The portfolio is currently 70 per cent occupied, generating a rent in excess of 2m a year for two years. But Gladman’s guarantee will take the rental up to a level of over 3m.

Close expects the level of occupancy to be 100 per cent well within the two-year guarantee period. It believes that rents have not been maximised mainly because Gladman was keen on filling the newly built office blocks as quickly as possible. Close expects to increase rental levels up to the estimated market rental values over the next few years as nearly all the property was let on three-year leases with rent reviews.

The new Chip D-shares are suitable for those seeking to utilise their annual Isa allowance as the income return after charges will be 6 per cent a year plus any capital appreciation. It is also a highly suitable investment for self-invested personal pensions, small self-administered schemes and direct investors who wish to diversify their portfolios.

I particularly like this as a low-risk, tax-efficient investment for cautious investors, giving a high initial income which is likely to rise, along with some capital appreciation.

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