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Trust portfolio update

Publication of the latest edition of the Investment Trusts Handbook has given me an excuse to update the model investment trust portfolio I started when the first edition was being planned three years ago. The seed capital of £100,000 has grown since January 2017 to £152,500 on 25 November this year, including retained dividend income. The portfolio now consists of 12 investment trusts, up from 10 at the outset, mainly run by longstanding fund managers and widely considered to be among the best in their class. In keeping with the philosophy of my favourite investment mentors, the portfolio is designed to be managed with minimal turnover and this year, apart from recycling the dividend income, I have made only a couple of changes. That follows a move to de-risk the portfolio somewhat in the middle of 2018, which proved to be timely when the stock market fell sharply in the final quarter of 2018. I will be giving regular updates on this and two other portfolios I monitor in 2020. More details shortly on the Money Makers website.

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A return to normality

So at last the extraordinary market conditions of the last two years – strong equity markets, dormant bond markets and record low volatility – have come to an end. The sharp sell-off in the stock market we have witnessed in the last few days is entirely healthy and long overdue.

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Is it virtue or results that you want?

I am a fan of Terry Smith but I wonder how many others in the fund management business are, given his knack of puncturing some of the carefully-developed myths that help to keep the rest of the industry going. His latest offering. a “sustainable” global equity fund, is a clever and well-judged attempt to highlight the flaws in the way that many other funds in this fashionable sector are in practice put together.

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Gerald Kaye interview: the property cycle is not over yet

Gerald Kaye, the subject of my latest Property Chronicle interview, is a 20-year veteran at Helical plc (formerly Helical Bar) and has been CEO since July 2016. His office overlooks Hanover Square, which today still looks like a bombsite, thanks to the ongoing Crossrail construction work. Were it not for the construction site, however, he could look directly across the square at the Knight Frank office where he started work in the property business some 40 years ago. What drew him to a career in property, I start by asking? “I suppose I got into the property business because I was brought up in lovely countryside and my mother’s cousin was a land agent. I thought it sounded like a good way of life”.

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