Investment Objective and Benchmark
The Company’s Objective is to maximise shareholders’ total return by investing in the shares and securities of property companies and property related businesses internationally and also in investment property located in the UK.
The benchmark is the FTSE EPRA/Nareit Developed Europe Capped Net Total Return Index in Sterling. The index, calculated by FTSE, is free-float based and as at 31 March 2021 had 105 constituent companies. The index limits exposure to any one company to 10% and reweights the other constituents pro-rata. The benchmark website www.epra.com contains further details about the index and performance.
The Company’s business model follows that of an externally managed investment trust.
The Company has no employees. Its wholly non-executive Board of Directors retains responsibility for corporate strategy; corporate governance; risk and control assessment; the overall investment and dividend policies; setting limits on gearing and asset allocation and monitoring investment performance.
The Board has appointed BMO Investment Business Limited as the Alternative Investment Fund Manager (“AIFM”) with portfolio management delegated to Thames River Capital LLP. Marcus Phayre-Mudge acts as Fund Manager to the Company on behalf of Thames River Capital LLP and Alban Lhonneur is Deputy Fund Manager. George Gay is the Direct Property Manager and Joanne Elliott the Finance Manager. They are supported by a team of equity and portfolio analysts.
Further information in relation to the Board and the arrangements under the Investment Management Agreement can be found in the Report of the Directors on pages 41 to 43 of the 31 March 2021 Annual Report.
In accordance with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”), BNP Paribas has been appointed as Depositary to the Company. BNP Paribas also provide custodial and administration services to the Company. Company secretarial services are provided by Link Company Matters.
The specific terms of the Investment Management Agreement are set out on pages 53 and 54 of the 31 March 2021 Annual Report.
Strategy and Investment Policies
The investment selection process seeks to identify well managed companies of all sizes. The Manager generally regards future growth and capital appreciation potential more highly than immediate yield or discount to asset value.
Although the investment objective allows for investment on an international basis, the benchmark is a Pan European Index and the majority of the investments will be located in that geographical area. Direct property investments are located in the UK only.
As a dedicated investor in the property sector the Company cannot offer diversification outside that sector, however, within the portfolio there are limitations, as set out below, on the size of individual investments held to ensure diversification within the portfolio.
Asset allocation guidelines
The maximum holding in the stock of any one issuer or of a single asset is limited to 15% of the portfolio at the point of acquisition. In addition, any holdings in excess of 5% of the portfolio must not in aggregate exceed 40% of the portfolio. The Manager currently applies the following guidelines for asset allocation;
|UK Listed equities||25 – 50%|
|Continental European listed equities||45 – 75%|
|Direct Property – UK||0 – 20%|
|Other listed equities||0 – 5%|
|Listed bonds||0 – 5%|
|Unquoted investments||0 – 5%|
The Company may employ levels of gearing from time to time with the aim of enhancing returns, subject to an overall maximum of 25% of the portfolio value.
In certain market conditions the Manager may consider it prudent not to employ gearing on the balance sheet at all, and to hold part of the portfolio in cash. The current asset allocation guideline is 10% net cash to 25% net gearing (as a percentage of portfolio value).
Investment properties are valued every six months by an external independent valuer. Valuations of all the Group’s properties as at 31 March 2021 have been carried out on a “RICS Red Book” basis and these valuations have been adopted in the accounts.
Allocation of costs between Revenue & Capital
On the basis of the Board’s expected long-term split of returns in the form of capital gains and income, the Group charges 75% of annual base management fees and finance costs to capital. All performance fees are charged to capital.
Holdings in Investment Companies
It is the Board’s current intention to hold no more than 15% of the portfolio in listed closed-ended investment companies.
Some companies investing in commercial or residential property are structured as listed externally managed closed-ended investment companies and therefore form part of our investment universe. Although this is not a model usually favoured by our Fund Manager, some investments are made in these structures in order to access a particular sector of the market or where the management team is regarded as especially strong. If these companies grow and become a larger part of our investment universe and/or new companies come to the market in this format the Manager may wish to increase exposure to these vehicles. If the Manager wishes to increase investment to over 15%, the Company will make an announcement accordingly.