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Alliance Trust builds English base amid Scottish uncertainty

by Dylan Lobo on Mar 07, 2014 at 07:57

Alliance Trust builds English base amid Scottish uncertainty

Alliance Trust  has started work on establishing an English corporate presence ahead of September's referendum on Scottish independence.

'We have always been and continue to remain focused on the service we provide to all our shareholders and customers across the UK and beyond. 2014 is an important year for Scotland. The referendum in September is creating uncertainty for our customers and our business, which we have a responsibility to address,’ Alliance Trust chief executive Katherine Garrett-Cox (pictured) told the market in a statement accompanying the 126th set of annual results from the Dundee-based trust.

‘Regardless of the outcome it is critical that we are able to provide continuity of service and protection for their investments and savings. To give them full confidence, we have started work to establish additional companies registered in England, in order to provide operational flexibility and to complement our existing business in Scotland.’

‘We know that we cannot afford to stand still, as change, be it regulatory, political or business-related, is a critical part of the world in which we operate.’


The trust delivered a net asset value return of 18.4% in 2013 and a total shareholder return of 22.7%. This followed double-digit returns in 2012 and represented the trust’s best absolute return and total return for three and eight years respectively.  

The difference in these returns is down the narrowing discount, which ended the year at 12.9%. The discount stood under 14% for most of 2013, the first time it has traded consistently at this level since 2006.

But Garrett-Cox said the Trust could do better: ‘While we recognise these numbers are improving, there is always work to be done and we maintain our focus on delivering improved investment performance and a narrow discount.’

The trust also kept its tradition of increasing its dividend in each of the last 47 years with a 3% rise in the ordinary dividend. This was accompanied by a special dividend of £1.282p to give an overall increase of 12.5% for the year.

Elsewhere across the business Alliance Trust Savings made its first full-year profit  for eight years as assets under administration jumped 33% to £5.4 billion.

Meanwhile Alliance Trust Investments, its funds business, produced a 16% rise in assets under management.

7 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Mar 07, 2014 at 08:19

It's good they're building an English base. I find ATS very good and want to transfer more assets to them but I've been holding off due to the uncertainity of the referendum. If the vote is for independence I don't want any assets in Scotland. The economy could dive and there would be no certainty about compensation schemes.

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Mar 07, 2014 at 08:58

I totally agree with businesses making contingency plans for the possibility of independence, to plan for the further possibility of not having a currency union (which most economists believe is actually sensible).

But businesses should leave their opinions out of the equation - particularly when its apparent the vast majority are members of the Tory party. The Scottish electorate can see right through this.

I live in a community where the majority are "no", but the constant barrage of "No" stories by the media - particularly the British Biased Corporation, and day tripping millionaire elite from Westminster - is actually turning a lot of people to "Yes".

What is more concerning is that even those in the "No" camp are beginning to also rankle with the constant interference. Has no one learnt the lessons of the Thatcher years. Scottish people have a long memory when it comes to unfairness.

The "Yes" camp want an open, honest debate (which Westminster doesn't). I worry their attitude will hamper relations no matter the outcome.

As for the Scottish economy comment above - well - that's just the usual ignorant, daily mail, not a clue comment we have come to expect.

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Bob Copperman

Mar 07, 2014 at 09:51

My personal view is that Scotland will become independent at some stage, if not now in this vote in 5 years or so time, when they decide to vote again. It will work just like joining Europe worked everywhere else. Vote until the vote is yes , if not now sometime in the future. I don't have a problem if Scotland want independence, that is their right. It WILL happen sometime in the future, and as far as I am concerned the sooner the better.

What is concerning is that the UK is wasting so much time and effort discussing it when it should be focussing on getting the economy back up and running.

The fact that they will need their own currency is the main issue and should be grasped quickly. Can someone tell me what will happen if UK residents have investments in Scottish domiciled companies? Will they be classed as foreign investments in a foreign currency? No one will tell me.

Something that seems to have been glossed over/forgotten is, what would have happened if Scotland had been independent before 2007? Who would have bailed out RBS and HBOS? Presumably not the UK tax payers who paid then, and have been paying ever since............

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astute investor

Mar 07, 2014 at 10:31

There remains strong possibility that at some point Alliance Trust will cease to exist in its current form. The performance of the fund has been poor for too long and Elliott Associates will provide a catalyst for change. This could mean a tender close to NAV along with a change of manager for assets remaining. The savings scheme will then be sold.

Alliance trust has only remained in its current form through shareholder and board member inertia.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Mar 07, 2014 at 15:26

Open letter to all Scots;

Please please please vote for independence.

You have regularly voted SNP so it is obvious that you think that all of your country's problems are due to being shackled to those nasty Englishmen so why bother with a referendum please just go!

The way Scots speak you would be forgiven for thinking that ever since the Act of Union they have lived under the English jackboot of suppression.

Constantly moaning that the English caused this , the English have done that, the English this and the English that, oh the unfairness of it all!

Dozens of common sence comments are now eminating thick and fast from level headed Scottish Businessmen and Women, I repeat Scottish businesses, and the only answer the yes group can come up with is more petty insults and accusations of English bullying and interference

To all Scots please just go. England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be just fine without you

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Keith Cobby

Mar 07, 2014 at 16:52

Elliott Associates will go the same way as Laxey. It would need deeper pockets to derail this trust. I don't expect them to suffer the same fate as Globe.

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Gordon Sinclair

Mar 09, 2014 at 20:54

@ Anonymous 1

Most Scots dont have a problem with the English at all - I have never heard a Scot blame anything on the English.

I have heard many English (not the rest of the UK) moan that the Scots get free prescriptions etc.

The problem with the Scots isnt the English - its Westminster.

I think that feeling is shared amongst many in the rest of the UK.

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