DUNEDIN Smaller Companies Investment Trust has trailed its bench-mark index in the first half of its financial year, but raised its dividend.

The investment trust, run by Aberdeen Asset Manage-ment, yesterday reported a 1.65 per cent rise in net asset value for the six months to April 30. This was adrift of a 5.19 per cent rise in the FTSE Small Cap Index, excluding investment companies.

Ed Beal, lead manager of the fund, emphasised the longer-term nature of his team's investment approach and said: "We would say six months is not an investment horizon we are focused on. We would focus on three years or five years, or even longer."

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Dunedin Smaller declared an interim dividend of 2.1p-a-share, up from its 2.05p payout for the first half of its prior financial year.

On the independence referendum, the trust's chairman, the Earl of Dalhousie, says in his statement on the results: "In the event of a Yes vote in favour of independence this uncertainty may be pro- longed until the implications for the company are clearer, especially relating to the economic, legislative and regulatory backdrop."

Commenting on the economic backdrop, he adds: "Economic recovery is happening and whilst it could be de-railed by the resurgence of concerns about sovereign debt that issue seems to have moved out of focus for the time being. However, a move to some form of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank might serve to return it to the fore."