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Baillie benefits from long-term approach

THE decade of success at Edinburgh investment house Baillie Gifford has arguably been down to its partnership structure and lack of short-term commercial pressures, a leading commentator has said.

LONG VIEW: James Anderson's £2.4 billion Scottish Mortgage trust is the biggest of Baillie Gifford's seven investment trusts. Picture: David Vintiner

The rise in assets under management from £25billion in 2003 to £105 billion at the end of last year reflects strong performance records and the ability to attract both institutional and retail investors, says Simon Elliot, investment trust analyst at Winterflood Securities.

In a report on the partnership's seven investment trusts totalling £5 billion, led by James Anderson's £2.4billion Scottish Mortgage trust, Winterflood says: "Baillie Gifford has a collegiate investment approach, with ideas shared across the firm. A great store is placed on questioning received wisdom, with a culture of challenging colleagues' investment theses. By definition there is no 'house view', as was evident at a recent seminar, with managers taking differing investment positions. Arguably the firm's partnership structure is better suited to long-term investment decision-making, with less emphasis on short-term performance."

Mr Elliot says each trust had portfolio turnover of less than 25 per cent in their latest financial year, and though three funds had appointed new managers this year and one, Edinburgh Worldwide, had broadened its mandate, there was in general good continuity and stability of management teams. "The close-ended structure suits its investment approach. Only one of its seven funds has underperformed its benchmark over the last five years and three of the funds are trading on either a premium or around net asset value."

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