Scottish Investment Trust surrenders independence
James Will: ‘compelling outcome’
Scottish Investment Trust, which traces its roots to the late nineteenth century, is merging with JPMorgan Global Growth & Income (JGGI) to create a £1.2 billion listed fund.
Following a four-month strategic review with Stanhope Consulting, SIT chairman James Will said combining the £671 million trust with its £700m rival offered the “most compelling outcome” for shareholders. It was preferable to a tie-up with an external investment group.
Merging with JGGI would lower charges, give investors access to its more successful, style-agnostic approach and attractive 4% dividend policy, while benefiting from being part of JP Morgan Asset Management, the largest investment trust provider by several funds, he said.
However, the liquidation of SIT via a scheme of reconstruction, will mean fund manager Alasdair McKinnon and its Edinburgh staff will lose their jobs.
The Edinburgh office and its savings scheme of the 134-year-old self-managed investment company will be retained by the liquidator to ensure the company’s pension scheme is sufficiently funded.
SIT shareholders should benefit from “an immediate re-rating” of their investment on completion of the transaction that could the company elevated to the FTSE 250 index.
Mr Will, a former chairman of law ﬁrm Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “Our two companies were both launched in 1887, and this combination will reflect both of their proud histories within a single vehicle with relevance for the investment market place today.”
SIT shareholders will receive new JGGI shares on a “formula asset value” that will calculate the NAVs of each company, adjusted for costs and declared-but-unpaid dividends.
JP Morgan will take over SIT once approved by the trust’s shareholders in January. The scheme of reconstruction will take place in the first quarter.
After completion, members of Scottish’s board will join JGGI. Its chairman Nigel Wightman is set to retire this month and be succeeded by Tristan Hillgarth.
Mr Wightman said: “The transaction brings together two of the oldest investment trusts in the sector … and creates a vehicle that can continue to serve shareholders’ interests for many years to come.”