THE £1.6 billion Monks Investment Trust was hit by market volatility in the six months to the end of October, leading it to underperform its benchmark index by 5.4 percentage points.

While the FTSE World Index made a total return of 4.5 per cent during the period, the trust, which is run by Baillie Gifford’s Charles Plowden, contracted by 0.9%.

Trust chairman James Ferguson said that “while this was evidently not a profitable period for the company”, performance should be judged over a longer time period, with Mr Plowden outperforming the index by just over nine percentage points since taking over from fellow Baillie Gifford manager Gerald Smith in March 2015.

During the period under review technology continued to feature heavily in the portfolio, which has a £62.7 million position in Amazon – its largest investment - and counts South African internet group Naspers, Google parent Alphabet and Chinese e-commerce business Alibaba among its top 10 holdings.

Although Mr Ferguson said the holding in Amazon had been trimmed four times since the middle of 2017, he added that platforms that “bring together buyers and sellers at scale” would continue to be a theme, citing businesses such as food ordering firms GrubHub and Just Eat as key investments.

In the banking sector the trust is also tapping into fintech disruptors, buying into China’s Ant International, an unlisted mobile payment app that spun out of Alibaba in 2014.

With the trust focused on capital growth as opposed to income, no interim dividend will be paid.