Baillie Gifford’s Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust has recorded its strongest ever single year return.
The results for the year to 31 March 2021 showed a net asset value up 111.5%, while the share price was up 99% against a benchmark – FTSE All-World Index – return of 39.6%.
This builds on the long-term share price total returns over five and 10 years, which stand at 348% and 756% respectively.
As a result, the trust reached new market capitalisation highs during the year, closing at just over £18bn.
Lawrence Burns joined as the trust’s deputy manager in March, with three managers now working on the portfolio.
In March, James Anderson announced his retirement as a partner from Baillie Gifford and will stand down as joint manager of Scottish Mortgage on 30 April 2022.
Jointly, the managers are focused on what will dominate over the coming decade, with particular areas of focus being the intersection of IT and healthcare, as well as the consequences of the switch in energy generation.
Portfolio turnover increased over the year in both monetary and number terms, as Scottish Mortgage became owners of several new companies which the managers said “can drive returns over the coming years”.
Ongoing charges dropped to 0.34% during the year, while the dividend increased by 5.2% to 3.42 pence.
Revenue earnings for the year are insufficient to cover the dividend, so the majority will be paid from realised capital reserves.
The trust also issued 24.7 million shares and bought back 56.4 million, resulting in a net buyback totalling around £420m.
A statement from the board read: “The year was clearly overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic – quite apart from the devastating human cost, it has also created enormous social, economic and business disruption.
“However, this has also been a period that has supercharged the prospects of several portfolio companies, faster than many might have expected.
“We could point to Illumina and Moderna who, between them, took only four days to sequence the virus and make a candidate vaccine; online platforms such as Amazon that provided goods to our doors; or Zoom, the video conferencing service that turned into a verb overnight.
“As an externally managed investment trust, the company has been fortunate in not having to contend with so many of the difficulties faced by many operating businesses – but there have been some temporary challenges such as online board meetings and restrictions on holding physical general meetings,” it added.
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