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Specialist sectors and VCTs are top performers in 2011, says AIC


The first year of this decade has been a volatile one, with headlines dominated by the crisis in the Eurozone. The average investment company was down 5% over the last twelve months of volatile markets, although it was up 54% over three years following the lows of 2008. All figures are to 30 November 2011.

However, there have been some good performers surfacing from all of the turbulence. Research from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has shown that specialist asset classes have fared well over the year, with the top two performing AIC member investment companies belonging to the Specialist Sector: Debt.  Property Direct: Europe was the top performing sector overall, up 7%, whilst the UK Growth & Income, North America, and Private Equity sectors all held up relatively well, each up 5%.  The Sector Specialist: Biotechnology also proved resilient, and was up 3%. Interestingly, 2011 was another good year for Private Equity – last year it was the second top performing sector.
The top performing AIC Member over the last twelve months was Real Estate Credit Investments, up 48% to end November 2011 although its longer term record has been less positive. This was followed by Greenwich Loan Income, up 40%, Marwyn Value Investors, up 39%, Northern Investors, up 28% and Graphite Enterprise up 25%, although Northern Investors is in the process of returning cash to shareholders.
The VCT sector, on average, held up relatively well considering the market turbulence.  In fact, six of the AIC’s top ten performing members overall this year were VCTs (see page 3 for top performing VCTs).  The VCT Specialist: Technology sector was up 1.5% over the year, whilst the VCT AIM Quoted, VCT Generalist and VCT Specialist: Media, Leisure & Events sectors were all up 1% over the year.

The top performing AIC member VCT over one year is British Smaller Companies VCT, from the VCT Generalist sector, up 34% over the last year (to end November 2011) and, an impressive 267% over 10 years. With VCTs now having ‘come of age’ at 16 years old, some companies are proving that solid share price performance and income can be expected from the sector.

Annabel Brodie-Smith (pictured), Communications Director, Association of Investment Companies (AIC) commented: “Whilst 2011 has been a torrid year for markets, it has clearly provided some good investment opportunities for some of the more specialist investment companies. Interestingly, there were also some strong performers among the VCT sector suggesting that VCTs have held up well in these volatile markets.
“Although it is always useful to see who has performed well over the last year, it should be remembered that investing is for the long-term and investment companies often achieve best returns over longer periods. This year’s hot sector or company may not be so popular next year so it’s important to take a long-term view, ensure you have a balanced portfolio and seek advice before investing if you are in any doubt.”


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