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Results at Alliance Trust fail to inspire

ALLIANCE Trust's current performance is "uninspiring", say brokers Winterflood, after results last week showed the £2.6 billion fund lagging its sector in the first half of 2014.

Analyst Simon Elliott says there are some positives for the group in the performance of its subsidiaries. Alliance Trust Investments was starting to gain new mandates for its SRI team, while Alliance Trust Savings now had a "more attractive book of business with greater growth potential" following the hike in charges.

This week ATS said assets under administration had passed the £6billion mark, a 33 per cent uplift for the year, including a 400 per cent rise in business with advisers.

But Mr Elliot says: "Unfortunately, the positives continue to be outweighed by the fund's equity performance."

He added that the approach of Ilario Di Bon since he was appointed investment director two years ago "appears sensible...however he has struggled to generate numbers that will differentiate the trust". His open-ended fund had also failed to attract meaningful third party money, Mr Elliott says.

"Consequently, although we are cognisant of the improvements that have been made over the last few years, we still struggle to identify reasons to buy Alliance Trust at present.

"Its discount is wider than many of its peers but, in the absence of a fundamental change to its buyback policy, is likely to remain so for some time. The fund is operating in a competitive space and its differentiating factors are not significant enough to compensate for its uninspiring performance."

The trust achieved total return of 0.4 per cent in the six months to June 30, against a four per cent average in the global growth investment company sector.

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