Wealth Manager - the site for professional investment managers

Register to get unlimited access to Citywire’s fund manager database. Registration is free and only takes a minute.

RIT Capital earmarks £400m for absolute return strategies

2 Comments
RIT Capital earmarks £400m for absolute return strategies

RIT Capital Partners, the £2.4 billion investment trust, has dramatically increased its debt to allocate more to absolute return strategies.

Through 2013 RIT, a Citywire Selection pick, took its gearing from zero to 5.2%. In December the trust signed two new £200 million revolving credit facilities with three and five-year durations on floating-interest rates of three-month Libor plus 1.2% and 1.8% respectively.

‘With interest rates held artificially low, we have also expanded our credit and absolute return strategies to ensure we are both enhancing and diversifying our sources of returns,’ said Lord Rothschild, the trust’s chairman.

‘This initiative is of particular interest at a time when we negotiated £400 million of new borrowing facilities at favourable rates, which we intend to deploy into such strategies. We consider the risk-adjusted returns to be favourable in enabling us to earn a reasonable margin of profit, both in supporting our portfolio returns and helping to offset our costs.’

Absolute return and credit investments represented 7% of RIT’s portfolio at the end of 2013, up from 3% a year earlier. This area returned 14% for the closed-ended fund through the period. RIT’s largest positions in the space are the Pine River Fixed Income fund and the Farmstead fund.

Rothschild (pictured) argued that these positions would help RIT weather any market downturn, citing economic disappointments from the US, Europe, China and Japan as key risks.

‘Inevitably higher valuations imply lower margins of safety and consequently the market's vulnerability to shocks is greater,’ he explained. ‘With the world recovery still fragile and reliant to a large extent on policy support, it is not hard to envisage markets having to deal with such shocks in the coming year and indeed they were felt during January.’

Rothschild noted that RIT’s net asset value had slipped by only 0.9% in January, against wider market drops of 3-4%, in part due to this cautious approach.

‘Our shareholders expect a clear and consistent approach,’ he concluded. ‘At the heart of this approach, rests its commitment to the preservation of shareholders’ capital, which remains our highest priority taking precedence over tactical manoeuvres based on short-term returns.’

RIT delivered a net asset value return of 18.6% last year, lagging the MSCI World index’s 23%.

‘Our 2013 performance combined appropriate levels of caution with a significant participation in stock market increases,’ Rothschild commented. ‘We did not forsake our focus on long-term growth and for this our shareholders have rewarded us with their loyalty.’

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.
Citywire TV
Play HSBC's Stephen King warns of 'enormous' Brexit deficit danger

HSBC's Stephen King warns of 'enormous' Brexit deficit danger

Brexit will weaken the economy, fail to boost exports and lessen the country's ability to fund its 'enormous' deficit, according to HSBC's senior economic adviser Stephen King.

Play Premier's Smith: electricity and water can be a good mix

Premier's Smith: electricity and water can be a good mix

Exposing your person to electricity and water simultaneously is ill-advised, but what about your portfolio?

Play Citywire 10k: video highlights

Citywire 10k: video highlights

Citywire held its sixth annual charity run last week, which hosted over 200 people and raised £14,000. Here are the video highlights.

Your Business: Cover Star Club

Profile: gearing up for the shift from consolidation to start-ups

Profile: gearing up for the shift from consolidation to start-ups

‘I think the industry is evolving rapidly, but not necessarily as a whole,’ says the head of recently launched Charles Nicholson AM

Wealth Manager on Twitter