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Questor: our trusts have trounced the FTSE, making 11pc a year since our revamp in 2016

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Piles of money with investors standing on them (illustration)
Piles of money with investors standing on them (illustration)

Unlike the slow start for our stock tips mentioned yesterday, Questor Trust Bargains got off to a flier with its very first recommendation since this column’s relaunch five years ago.

Shares in Henderson Smaller Companies have risen by 110pc since Questor labelled them a “buy” in September 2016. It has trounced the FTSE 100, which is up by just 3pc over the same period.

While this column hasn’t been able to double readers’ money with every tip, a review of the performance of the Trust Bargains to have featured in the past half-decade shows we have got it right more often than not.

Over those five years Questor has tipped shares in a total of 126 investment trusts. Of those, 97 have since risen in value, while 29 have fallen. On average our tips have gained 30.6pc and have outperformed the FTSE 100 by 31.8 percentage points.

The average period of investment across the tipped trusts is roughly two-and-a-half years, so we have made around 11pc a year, versus a 0.4pc loss for Britain’s blue-chip index.

Not that mistakes haven’t been made along the way. But first, a rundown of our biggest successes.

Questor’s winners

Topping our leaderboard, and in all likelihood the portfolios of many readers, is Scottish Mortgage. Its shares have risen by 224pc since Questor advised more adventurous investors to switch to the £19bn fund from Monks in August 2017.

More cautious readers who stayed with Monks have also been rewarded. Shares in the trust, which like Scottish Mortgage is run by the Edinburgh firm of Baillie Gifford, have gained 165pc since our first buy tip in October 2016.

Baillie Gifford favours a “growth” style of investing: it backs companies with the potential to deliver rapidly rising profits in the future. Shares in such firms, and technology stocks in particular, have led the global market rally for most of the past five years since Questor’s revamp, as is evident from a number of this column’s other winning trust picks.

Montanaro European Smaller Companies also adheres to this growth style and its shares are up by 143pc since our May 2018 tip. Next are two technology trusts: shares in Polar Capital Technology and Herald have risen by 122pc and 112pc since they were tipped in November 2018 and February 2019 respectively.

The aforementioned Henderson Smaller Companies follows, ahead of another fund focused on the smaller stocks listed on London’s market: BlackRock Throgmorton has risen by 106pc since we tipped it in April last year.

Shares in HgCapital, an investor in private technology companies, have risen by 101pc since a March 2019 tip, while Manchester & London, also focused on technology, was 92pc higher when we advised readers to sell in March this year, having labelled the trust a “buy” four years earlier.

Questor’s losers

At the bottom of our performance table is Macau Property Opportunities. The trust, which owns flats in the Chinese-controlled territory of Macau, has lost 66pc of its value since this column’s tip in January 2018, although it has returned capital separately to investors.

Riverstone Energy, which backs US shale oil start-ups, is 62pc down since our October 2019 tip, while Woodford Patient Capital had lost 54pc when we advised readers to sell in October 2019. We had tipped shares in Neil Woodford’s former trust at the start of 2017.

Shares in Doric Nimrod Air Three, which owns Airbus A380 aeroplanes leased to the Emirates airline, have lost 52pc since an August 2019 Questor tip, while Asia-focused Symphony International has fallen by 46pc since our buy recommendation in June 2017.

It is worth pointing out, however, the impact of dividend payments in narrowing some of those losses. Divis of 16.5p paid by the Doric trust since our tip at 83p reduce the loss to a still-painful 32pc, while the loss on Symphony stands at 12pc once 25.5 cents of dividends, and another 2.5 cent payment to be made on Friday, are accounted for.

All figures are based on Tuesday’s closing prices.

Read the latest Questor column on telegraph.co.uk every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5am.

Read Questor’s rules of investment before you follow our tips.

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