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Jeremy Tigue to end 17-year reign on Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust

Jeremy Tigue to end 17-year reign on Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust

Jeremy Tigue's 17-year spell as manager of the £2 billion Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust (FCIT) is to come to an end.

Paul Niven, manager of the open-ended F&C Diversified Growth and Managed Growth funds, will replace Tigue (pictured), who is retiring from fund management, on 1 July.

In the three years to the end of January the Managed Growth fund has returned 11.9% versus a 20.2% gain in the LCI UK Balanced and International Equity index, while the sterling hedged version of Diversified Growth has returned 4.2% versus the 19.4% gain in the LCI MSCI AC World/Citi WGBI (Hedgd GBP) (50:50) index.  

In statement chairman Simon Fraser said: 'Throughout the succession planning process and as part of our fiduciary responsibilities, the board explored a variety of options and was then presented with detailed performance information, in order to help our assessment of options for future management of the Trust.  

He added: 'After considerable and careful due diligence, the board of FCIT is pleased to appoint F&C’s Paul Niven as the new fund manager of FCIT.  We are confident that Paul is strongly placed to build on the historic success of the Trust, and we look forward to working with him in the future.'

Tigue said: 'It has been a privilege to be responsible for continuing Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust’s record of growth over the last seventeen years and I would like to thank the board, my colleagues, our advisers and all the shareholders for their support and encouragement over that time.

'As the portfolio becomes more global, private equity generates cash and the debenture approaches maturity, Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust is in a strong position.'

Marginal outperformance

In his final year on trust Tigue delivered marginal outperformance, with the trust's net asset value delivering a total return of 21.4% versus a 21% rise in its FTSE All Share benchmark, matching the peer group average.

The biggest contributor to performance came from gearing into the rising markets, while Fraser also drew attention to an 'excellent' year for its private equity portfolio. However, this was overshadowed by an underweight position in the strong US market.

The numbers prompted the trust's board to raise its dividend by 5.9% to 9p.

Fraser is confident the trust, which is sitting on a 9.7% discount, can to satisfy investors and indicated it intends to reduce its exposure to the UK in the next few months.  

Fraser said: 'In 2014, we will continue to make the portfolio more global. We will reduce the UK weighting and will invest the proceeds in a selection of funds investing mostly outside the UK. We will benefit from cash realisations from our private equity portfolio.

'In 2015 and beyond we will get another boost from the repayment of our expensive debenture. Therefore we are optimistic we will continue to deliver long-term growth in income and capital. In a world where savers are increasingly having to make their own investment decisions, we believe the company is well-positioned as a long-term core holding for investors.'

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