Which investment trusts could have made you £2 million in your ISA?

A total of 32 investment trusts would have made investors more than £1 million if they had put their ISA allowance in the same trust each year since 1999, with two growing to more than £2 million. We reveal the “ISA millionaire” trusts.

Money falling into a wheelbarrow
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Savers could have become “ISA millionaires” if they had invested in one of 32 investment trusts over the past few decades, with two trusts reaching more than £2 million, according to new figures.

The data is based on investors putting their entire ISA allowance into one of the trusts every year from 1999, the year ISAs were launched, to 2023 - a total of £306,560 - and reinvesting the dividends. 

According to the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), HgCapital Trust was the top performer, generating a massive tax-free pot of £2,254,391. 

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Allianz Technology Trust also produced an ISA worth more than £2 million - £2,095,955 to be precise.

Tech-focused trusts and smaller companies trusts are prominent among the 32 ISA millionaire investment trusts.

Annabel Brodie-Smith, communications director at the AIC, says the research highlights the importance of investing for the long term. 

However, she adds that it’s “vital to spread your risk, as no-one knows which will be the best-performing investment trusts in the future. A diversified portfolio which meets your needs is the best way to success over the long term.”

We reveal which investment trusts could have made you an ISA millionaire. 

The ISA millionaire investment trusts

Technology is a strong theme among the top three trusts. HgCapital Trust, which invests in unquoted software and technology services businesses, returned £2,254,391. Allianz Technology Trust and Polar Capital Technology, which both invest in a global portfolio of technology companies, returned £2,095,955 and £1,912,656 respectively.

Scottish Mortgage, a global trust with a growth-focused mandate, took fourth place, producing an ISA worth £1,639,261. Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies came fifth,  returning £1,538,589.

Two of the top five performers – HgCapital Trust and Scottish Mortgage – invest at least part of their portfolio in unquoted companies.

Among the 32 ISA millionaire investment trusts, 12 focus on smaller companies. Four of them are from the UK Smaller Companies sector with BlackRock Throgmorton Trust performing best of these, returning £1,214,138 to take 10th place in the table. 

Three of the trusts are from the Asia Pacific Smaller Companies sector, of which the best performing is Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies. A further three are from the European Smaller Companies sector, of which European Smaller Companies is the best performing, returning £1,112,995.

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The 32 “ISA millionaire” investment trusts
RankTrustAIC sector% share price total return, 06/04/1999 to 31/01/2024Total ISA investment value at 31/01/2024
1HgCapital TrustPrivate Equity 3,700£2,254,391
2Allianz Technology TrustTechnology & Technology Innovation1,894£2,095,955
3Polar Capital TechnologyTechnology & Technology Innovation 1,573£1,912,656
4Scottish MortgageGlobal1,366£1,639,261
5Scottish Oriental Smaller CompaniesAsia Pacific Smaller Companies4,024 £1,538,589
6abrdn Asia FocusAsia Pacific Smaller Companies3,742£1,491,435
7JPMorgan AmericanNorth America889£1,413,500
8Pacific Horizon Investment TrustAsia Pacific 2,334 £1,303,270
9JPMorgan Global Growth & IncomeGlobal Equity Income923£1,268,898
10BlackRock Throgmorton TrustUK Smaller Companies1,252£1,214,138
11Worldwide Healthcare TrustBiotechnology & Healthcare1,999 £1,197,232
12International BiotechnologyBiotechnology & Healthcare1,846£1,194,730
13Fidelity European TrustEurope1,725£1,188,448
14Biotech Growth TrustBiotechnology & Healthcare1,317£1,169,361
15Canadian General InvestmentsNorth America1,439 £1,159,765
16BlackRock Smaller CompaniesUK Smaller Companies1,138 £1,157,120
17Mid Wynd InternationalGlobal1,182 £1,142,541
18Rights & Issues Investment TrustUK Smaller Companies1,588 £1,134,352
19JPMorgan UK Smaller CompaniesUK Smaller Companies1,268 £1,123,473
20European Smaller CompaniesEuropean Smaller Companies 906 £1,112,995
21JPMorgan European DiscoveryEuropean Smaller Companies1,664 £1,087,689
22JPMorgan US Smaller CompaniesNorth American Smaller Companies1,238 £1,086,589
23Herald Investment TrustGlobal Smaller Companies855 £1,077,135
24JPMorgan IndianIndia/Indian Subcontinent1,778£1,076,331
25Montanaro European Smaller CompaniesEuropean Smaller Companies917 £1,066,051
26ICG Enterprise TrustPrivate Equity580 £1,065,553
27AVI Global TrustGlobal1,482 £1,058,026
28Fidelity Asian ValuesAsia Pacific Smaller Companies806 £1,055,507
29BlackRock World Mining TrustCommodities & Natural Resources1,853£1,037,056
30Pantheon InternationaPrivate Equity1,017£1,027,265
31F&C Investment TrustGlobal 681 £1,007,460
32Henderson European Focus TrustEurope745 £1,005,182

Source: www.aic.co.uk / Morningstar. % share price total return is for a single lump sum invested at the beginning of the period. Total ISA investment value is the total value of an investment on 31/01/2024 if the maximum ISA limit for each year had been invested annually from 1999 to 2023, with the investment being made on 6 April each year.

Brodie-Smith comments: “It’s been a challenging time for investors recently, with high inflation coupled with geopolitical tensions and an uncertain outlook.

“In difficult times, it’s important for investors to take a long-term approach to their investments. Investment trusts have been in existence for more than 155 years, surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression, the 1970s era of high inflation, the tech boom (and bust), the financial crisis and the pandemic. 

“They have a fixed pool of capital, which means investment trust managers can take a long-term view, holding onto assets during market downturns, rather than being forced to sell them at cheap prices.”

Jim Strang, chairman of HgCapital Trust, said it was “very heartening that the company has been able to deliver such compelling gains for shareholders over the last 25 years”. He said the investment performance was a “solid endorsement of the private equity model”.

Mike Seidenberg, portfolio manager of Allianz Technology Trust, called the gains “fantastic”. He said: “As we often remind investors, we are arguably living in the golden era of technology where companies across most industries become relevant or irrelevant depending on their adoption and use of technology.”

Ruth Emery
Contributing editor

Ruth is an award-winning financial journalist with more than 15 years' experience of working on national newspapers, websites and specialist magazines.

She is passionate about helping people feel more confident about their finances. She was previously editor of Times Money Mentor, and prior to that was deputy Money editor at The Sunday Times. 

A multi-award winning journalist, Ruth started her career on a pensions magazine at the FT Group, and has also worked at Money Observer and Money Advice Service. 

Outside of work, she is a mum to two young children, while also serving as a magistrate and an NHS volunteer.