ALLIANCE Trust has made five investment specialists in London redundant in its latest restructuring and says it will save £2 million a year.

The Dundee-based trust said it had "rationalised the resourcing of the equity team", following the departure of investment chief Ilario di Bon last month and the appointment of Peter Michaelis to head a single investment team for the trust and its Alliance Trust Investments subsidiary.

It follows the closure of two ATI funds with some job losses last year.

Mr Michaelis and Simon Clements, the new head of equities for the trust itself, both joined Alliance two years ago in the capture of Aviva's SRI (socially responsible investment) team, prompting questions about the trust's future investing style.

Alliance said yesterday its unconstrained and thematic global investment approach was unchanged. "It will be managed on a high conviction, bottom-up stock-picking basis, with consideration of environmental, social and governance factors forming an integral part of the investment process."

It said many of the existing holdings had "always been subjected to this scrutiny" and that it did not expect "a wholesale restructuring of the portfolio".

It was reporting on a third quarter that saw a total shareholder return of 2.1 per cent, which it said ranked "second quartile compared to other global trusts", and a net asset value total return of 1.1 per cent, which ranked "just outside the second quartile" (or below halfway). On both measures the trust is in the top half of the global growth sector over three, four and five years, it added.

The quarter also saw the independence referendum casting a shadow across the sector, with Alliance admitting to creating new shell companies in England. It has since said it will "continue to monitor the situation".

The trust's discount gyrated dramatically, widening to 14.5 per cent in the lead-up to the vote, followed by a post-vote low of 11.8 per cent, and finishing the quarter at 12.5 per cent.

"This widening of the discount ahead of the vote was consistent with many other Scottish incorporated investment trusts," Alliance said.

Simon Elliott at Winterflood Securities said in a recent note: " In the months and years ahead we suspect that we will hear a lot more about Alliance Trust's 'integrated and responsible investment strategy'.

"This will certainly ­differentiate the fund from its global peers, although we believe that ultimately it will need an improved performance record to attract new buyers and therefore see its discount tighten materially."