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Troy Trojan Global Income: March 2021 Fund Update

Investments can go down as well as up so there is always a danger that you could get back less than you invest. Nothing here is personalised advice, if unsure you should seek advice.
  • James Harries has lots of experience searching the globe for income opportunities
  • He combines them to create a high-conviction portfolio of quality companies with great long-term prospects
  • Performance has been strong since the fund launched in November 2016
  • This fund is on the Wealth Shortlist of funds chosen by our analysts for their long-term performance potential

How it fits in a portfolio

Troy Trojan Global Income aims to deliver long-term income and capital growth. It aims to grow income sustainably over time rather than seeking higher but potentially unreliable yields. The manager sets the bar high when it comes to picking stocks and only those of the highest quality are considered for the portfolio. This approach means the fund could work well alongside ‘value’ funds investing in unloved companies. It could also add global diversification to an income-focused portfolio.

Manager

James Harries has managed this fund since launch in November 2016. He joined Troy in 2016 from Newton (BNY Mellon) where he managed global income funds from 2005. Harries is one of the most experienced global income managers and we hold him in high regard.

In November 2020, Harries took over management of the Securities Trust of Scotland plc, a closed-ended fund (investment trust) that invests in a similar way to this fund. Given the cross-over between the two portfolios we think Harries is comfortably able to manage both. We think he’s got one of the strongest track records in the sector, and we like his simple, disciplined and patient investment style.

Tomasz Boniek is the fund’s assistant manager and supports Harries on his hunt for companies around the globe. He joined Troy from Susa Fund Management in 2017 and holds an MBA from the London Business School.

Process

Harries’ investment approach is similar to other Troy fund managers. He looks for large, financially sound companies that have shown their resilience through both good and bad times for the wider economy. He mainly focuses on developed markets, such as the US, Europe and the UK. While he has the flexibility to invest in higher-risk emerging markets, he tends to avoid them, preferring companies that sometimes sell their products in these regions.

This is a concentrated portfolio of between 30-40 holdings. That means each company can have a significant impact on performance, although it’s a higher-risk approach. Consumer staples currently account for just under 40% of the portfolio. These are companies that serve the day to day needs of the public such as British American Tobacco and The Coca-Cola Company. Healthcare and technology are other sectors where the manager finds plenty of opportunity.

Given the manager’s long-term approach, new purchases and sales are kept to a minimum. Only a few new ideas are considered each year, and the manager only sells shares if he feels the outlook has changed, the company becomes too highly valued, or he finds a better idea elsewhere. For instance, he recently sold an investment in Emerson Electric to fund a new investment in US industrial supplies company Fastenal. Fastenal provides a broad range of products and their scale allows them to efficiently enter new markets such as PPE for Covid-19. Harries and the team like how they operate and believe there is plenty of opportunity for it grow.

Every holding must pay a dividend but the fund doesn’t have an income target. Harries is more focused on total return, a combination of income and growth, than income alone and won’t chase an unsustainable yield that is potentially damaging to long-term returns.

Investors should be aware that charges are taken from capital, which can increase the yield but reduces the potential for capital growth. The manager also has the flexibility to use derivatives which, if used, increases risk.

Culture

Troy Asset Management is an independent ‘boutique’ investment company. The majority of the business is owned by the managers and fund managers. We view this positively, as it means both the business and the funds are run with a very long-term view and managers’ interests are aligned with investors.

Sheltering investors’ wealth has always been the most important thing at Troy. The managers believe that’s the best starting point for growing wealth over the long term. All Troy funds are run along the same lines – disciplined and patiently investing in a small number of high-quality holdings. Managers of different Troy funds all contribute to the thorough research of around 200 companies deemed suitable for Troy portfolios, creating a collegiate environment.

As long-term investors, Troy are mindful of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. As part of their research process the team analyse the impact of climate change, pollution and waste, human capital and corporate governance.

Cost

The fund is available for an annual ongoing charge of 0.91%. We think this is on the high side when compared with other global income funds and means Harries has a bigger hurdle to deliver positive returns. We recognise, however, the value he’s added above these charges since the fund began. Our platform charge of up to 0.45% per annum also applies.

Performance

Our conviction in Harries stems from his long-term track record. At Newton he built an impressive record managing their global income fund. The Troy Trojan Global Income Fund has underperformed the IA Global Equity Income sector since launch, returning 27.6%* versus 30.8% for the peer group. That said, the fund has taken less risk than many others and we are confident in his longer-term abilities.

Markets have been volatile recently and income investors have had a particularly tough time. The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdowns made it difficult for many companies to pay dividends. Over the past year, the fund underperformed its peer group by 10.1% with US Bank Wells Fargo & Co among the weaker performers, dragged down by ongoing regulatory issues and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Given Harries’ focus on high-quality companies we expect the fund to hold up relatively well when markets fall, which happened during the depths of the crisis last March and since launch. In contrast, we expect the fund to lag the peer group when markets are rising quickly. Not owning companies that are highly sensitive to economic conditions has hindered short-term performance. Remember past performance is not a guide to the future. All funds will fall as well as rise in value so you could get back less than you invest.

Some companies have performed well though. Microsoft was boosted by the continued expansion of its cloud business. Other strong performers included online trading company IG Group and US household products manufacturer The Clorox Company.

The fund currently yields 3.2%, which is currently higher than the broader global stock market. Remember yields are variable and not a reliable indicator of future income.

Annual percentage growth
Feb 16 -
Feb 17
Feb 17 -
Feb 18
Feb 18 -
Feb 19
Feb 19 -
Feb 20
Feb 20 -
Feb 21
Troy Trojan Global Income N/A -0.1% 9.1% 10.8% 1.9%
IA Global Equity Income 28.4% 4.5% 2.1% 4.7% 12.0%

Past performance isn’t a guide to the future. Source: *Lipper IM to 28/02/2021.

Find out more about Troy Trojan Global Income, including charges

Troy Trojan Global Income Key investor information

Important information - Please remember the value of investments, and any income from them, can fall as well as rise so you could get back less than you invest. This article is provided to help you make your own investment decisions, it is not advice. If you are unsure of the suitability of an investment for your circumstances please seek advice. No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal.


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