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Witan benefits from avoiding the Japanese ‘investment dog’

An underweight position to Japan has helped the Witan Pacific Investment Trust beat its benchmark, says director of Witan Investment Services, Andrew Bell, describing the country as an ‘investment dog’.

The trust has given share price total returns of 31% over the past five years and 34% over the past three years, beating the benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific total returns of 12% and 15% in the same time frame.

The trust focuses on the Asia Pacific region and is invested in companies with exposure to Asian growth like UK-listed HSBC (HSBA.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L).

Bell said that some of the best investments in Chinese growth may be those outside the country. These companies have stronger corporate governance, he said.

He also said that although the slowdown in China’s economic fortunes will have an impact, the financials the trust holds are in a better state of health than many of those in the west.

The trust recently moved to paying dividends twice a year, rather than once a year as income has become the focus for many investors. It is currently trading at 206p, a 14% discount to its net asset value (NAV) of 240p.

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