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Disappointing start for trust after switch to Henderson leads to fears for future

The global investment trust which was moved last year from SVM Asset Management in Edinburgh to Henderson Global Investors in London has an uncertain future after a disappointing start under new management.

The former SVM Global, run by creator Colin McLean for 20 years until last May, now Henderson Value Trust, has lost two per cent of net asset value (NAV) since the move compared with a rise 11.8 per cent for the FTSE World index, according to a note from Winterflood Securities analyst Simon Elliott.

Last month it emerged that one of the fund's two managers, Paul Craig, was leaving Henderson.

The £113million trust lost 11.6 per cent last year, against an index rise of 29 per cent, having matched its sector in 2012.

Mr Elliott writes: "The future of Henderson Value Trust is far from certain. The result of the continuation vote in December is difficult to predict.....we suspect that shareholders would have expected more progress by now in terms of portfolio repositioning - nine of the top ten holdings remain legacy positions."

Mr Barrass said a year ago he would be ditching the former SVM "deep value" investments, while observers say the trust exited European property and banking holdings which then continued to perform strongly.

Mr Barrass commented: "We have adopted a measured and sensible approach to the legacy portfolio and have made some good quality new investments.

"We believe that we are making real progress in turning the portfolio around and that performance is beginning to improve....we hope shareholders will be inclined to support our efforts."

Meanwhile, Personal Assets Trust, managed by Scottish fund legend Ian Rushbrook until his death in 2008, has a 'buy' recommendation maintained by brokers Canaccord Genuity.

Analyst Alan Brierley says the traditionally conservative and bearish PAT has seen a "disappointing" fall in NAV this year.

The £570million PAT is down five per cent, compared with a 0.5 per cent rise at HVT and a 7.8 per cent uplift for the global trust sector, according to ILP Moneyfacts.

But Mr Brierley says that with equity exposure of only 44 per cent PAT is "positioned for significant disruption in global markets", and he agrees with manager Sebastian Lyon of Troy Asset Management that "we are in the midst of an extraordinary and unprecedented monetary experiment".

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