An update on MoneyWeek’s model portfolio – July 2016

When we introduced the MoneyWeek investment trust portfolio, we wanted stability, defensiveness, some exposure to growth, and some income. And we wanted not to have to change its composition very often. So how is it doing? Just fine.

When we introduced the MoneyWeek investment trust portfolio I told you that I wasn't expecting that much from it. We wanted stability, defensiveness (we worry...), some exposure to growth and some income. And we wanted not to have to change its composition very often. So how is it doing? The answer to that is: just fine.

Since inception, it has returned 64% compared with 44% from the FTSE All-Share. Over the last year it has given us a total of 5.18% against 2.11% from the FTSE All-Share and in the short period since the Brexit vote 3.16% against 3.52%. Where the comparisons don't look quite as good is against the MSCIWorld index (including emerging markets): there the numbers are 79%, 14%, and 10.5%, which we can mostly put down to the strong US dollar.

The best performer over the last year has been Personal Assets Trust, a fund we have held from the start for its defensive characteristics. That's worked out well: its gold holdings have been particularly good performers over the last six months. Scottish Mortgage isn't there for its defensive characteristics, but its US exposure was good news as the pound fell last week.

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I don't need to say much about Finsbury you can read the interview with its manager above,and there is a longer piece on Train's views on our website at It's a good "forever" fund.

The underperformers over the past year have been Caledonia and Law Debenture. However, there seems little reason to do much about this. The former investment trust currently trades at a large discount to its net asset value (as you can see from the table opposite), but has a sensible-looking portfolio and a fabulous history of rising dividend payouts. The latter offers a diversified portfolio full of good-value firms, a low ongoing charge and an attractive yield of 3.4%. So, as per usual, we are making no changes.

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BH MacroBHMG15/06/121,948p11/10/132,056p5.50%5.50%
Caledonia InvestmentsCLDN11/10/131,830pn/a2,287p24.97%33.67%
Personal AssetsPNL15/06/1236,000pn/a38,750p7.64%15.18%
Scottish Mortgage*SMT15/06/12642pn/a275p114.17%123.49%
Finsbury GrowthFGT15/06/12331.75pn/a615p85.38%103.13%
3i Infrastructure3IN15/06/12124p18/09/15167.5p35.08%60.39%
Law Debenture CorporationLWDB18/09/15503.5pn/a482p-4.27%-2.02%
Portfolio return**Row 8 - Cell 1 Row 8 - Cell 2 Row 8 - Cell 3 Row 8 - Cell 4 Row 8 - Cell 5 47.78%60.84%
FTSE All ShareRow 9 - Cell 1 Row 9 - Cell 2 Row 9 - Cell 3 Row 9 - Cell 4 Row 9 - Cell 5 19.40%36.44%
MSCI World*** (excl. EMs)Row 10 - Cell 1 Row 10 - Cell 2 Row 10 - Cell 3 Row 10 - Cell 4 Row 10 - Cell 5 47.45%62.99%
MSCI World*** (incl. EMs)Row 11 - Cell 1 Row 11 - Cell 2 Row 11 - Cell 3 Row 11 - Cell 4 Row 11 - Cell 5 40.54%55.40%
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* Return adjusted for 5-for-1 stock split on 30/6/14
** Assumes BH Macro holding rolled into Caledonia
*** Returns in sterling
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BH MacroBHMGRow 0 - Cell 2 Row 0 - Cell 3 Row 0 - Cell 4 Row 0 - Cell 5 SOLD 11/10/13Row 0 - Cell 7
Caledonia InvestmentsCLDN2,311p2,851p23.37%-26.28%-20.96%2.33%
Personal AssetsPNL33,675p38,841p15.34%6.46%-0.25%1.45%
Scottish MortgageSMT138.7p257.38p98.54%-8.02%-1.48%1.09%
Finsbury GrowthFGT328.2p607.39p85.07%1.07%1.58%2.06%
3i Infrastructure3INRow 6 - Cell 2 Row 6 - Cell 3 Row 6 - Cell 4 Row 6 - Cell 5 SOLD 18/09/15Row 6 - Cell 7
Law Debenture CorporationLWDB461p533.0p15.62%8.50%-11.26%3.41%
Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.