An update on Bacit – the investment trust that’s fighting cancer

Bacit is a cheap fund of funds that donates a portion of its profits to charities battling against cancer. And it’s doing rather well, says Merryn Somerset Webb.


Every year, Bacit donates 1% of its net asset value to charity

A couple of years ago I suggestedthat you consider investing in Bacit. It's an investment trust that operates as a cheap fund of very good (and often hedge) funds with a charitable twist (it's cheap because the underlying managers offer their usually overpriced services for free) a bid to win the "battle against cancer" that's the BAC' in the name of the trust.

I followed up here on their issue of new shares, but I saw the management team again yesterday, and I just want to give those of you who invested (as I did) a quick update.

The performance has been pretty much as the managers hoped. They said they were planning for low double-digit annual growth, and, since inception in October 2012, that is exactly what they have delivered in net asset value terms: the total return has been 30.2%, and the annualised return 11.5%.

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They wanted the portfolio to be resilient, and it has been: in the 29 months since the launch, the MSCI World index has had eight down' months. In each of those months, Bacit has outperformed the market. If you add them all up, Bacit made a net gain of 3.6% over all of them (the MSCI lost 17.5% over them).

The fund is 97% invested (although, of course, many of the underlying funds hold cash) and is pleasantly skewed in directions we approve of the largest holding is the Polar Capital Japan Alpha Fund, and 35% of the overall assets are invested in Europe.

The shares are currently trading at a 2% discount to their net asset value, having been at something of a premium (over 7% at one point). This fund isn't in our official investment trust portfolio but I suspect next time we chuck one out it will be high up on our list of candidates to fill the gap.

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.