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Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

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PrefInvestor
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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250058

Postby PrefInvestor » September 7th, 2019, 8:59 am

tjh290633 wrote:
Silverstar64 wrote:I am a massive advocate of ITs and wonder how many other investors here prefer trusts to investing in company shares? I'm not trying to start a debate about passive v active or open v closed ended funds I just wanted to gauge how many have the majority of their stock market eggs in the investment trust basket?
....
Our portfolios today are 2 shares (mid cap housebuilder and micro cap US pharmaceutical) and 51 investment trusts. Maybe that's too many? (Another topic perhaps)

51 ITs? I would say that is about 40 too many.

I have 35 shares and invest for my grandchildren in 3 global ITs. I'm 86 and am contemplating a future move into ITs, but certainly no more than 9 or 10.

Why so many?

TJH


Hi TJH, Never mind 51 ITs being too many, what about 35 shares ?. I tried holding a portfolio of HY mainly FTSE 100 shares for a while following my move out of being mainly invested in Prefs, which was the case up until March 2018. I was careful with my stock selections (I thought) and researched each one. However having constructed the portfolio I quickly felt that it was like driving around in an "investment minefield" and it was only going to be a matter of time before another one of my holdings blew up and took a big loss. I restructured again after that and am mostly in ETFs and ITs these days (exact count 6 FTSE 100 stocks, 20 ITs - 6 of which are renewables, 5 ETFs & 5 Prefs). I'm glad to say that this portfolio has performed pretty well and avoids the "investment minefield" problem.

ATB

Pref

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250061

Postby Silverstar64 » September 7th, 2019, 9:03 am

Thought I'd look at how many trusts BMPI holds, the BMO income focused fund of investment trusts. Looking at the annual accounts to 31st May 2019 they hold 39 IT's. Of the 39 we hold 7. MIGO the Milton fund of ITs holds 41.

I am finding this thread interesting and actionable, for example it's prompted me to evaluate WTAN v ATST as we currently hold both.

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250065

Postby Itsallaguess » September 7th, 2019, 9:14 am

OhNoNotimAgain wrote:
Itsallaguess wrote:

..and I can hand-on-heart say that changing tack and moving into income-IT's has been the single best investment decision that I've ever made.


Can you tell us which has given the biggest increase in dividends over the last decade?


I honestly can't...

Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been with my statement above, when I said that moving into income-IT's has been 'the single-best investment-decision that I've ever made' - that wasn't suggesting that my investment performance has increased, but that my comfort-level with a growing income-portfolio has increased really quite dramatically...

I've said this elsewhere, but even if I did know the dividend-performance figures of both 'sections' of my HYP, or even if I knew the total-return figures in addition to that, and I found that I was actually 'performing' slightly worse in my IT-section than I was in my single-share section, I'd really be quite happy with that....

The simple fact is that moving into income-IT's has 'allowed me' to both stay 'fully invested' over many years (I do accumulate variable levels of cash as part of my investment-strategy, but this is simply part of my 'never wanting to actually sell' methodology, and it works well for me personally...) and also to just simply 'continue over the long-term with an investing strategy', which I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to do at the latter stages of my 'single-share-only HYP' years.

Whilst typing this reply, I've noticed that PrefInvestor has described his single-share HYP experience as 'driving around in an investment minefield' (https://tinyurl.com/y3cl5bhw), and I can truly relate to that, having come to a very similar conclusion...

So for me personally, 'staying in the game' is much more important and valuable than the actual strategy I use to do that, and having moved from a single-share HYP strategy that was beginning to make it very difficult to do so, I'm simply over the moon to have now modified my income-strategy into one where I can...

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250068

Postby Silverstar64 » September 7th, 2019, 9:38 am

Itsallaguess wrote:...that wasn't suggesting that my investment performance has increased, but that my comfort-level with a growing income-portfolio has increased really quite dramatically...

Your comments really resonate with me, especially regarding human factors i.e. how we feel about our investments. I also totally endorse your fully invested approach across the cycle, time in the market rather than market timing. That's easier to do when adding regularly to an income IT portfolio due to buying more income when prices are low knowing there are often very long periods of dividend increases over decades and revenue reserves.

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250078

Postby Dod101 » September 7th, 2019, 10:31 am

PrefInvestor wrote:Hi TJH, Never mind 51 ITs being too many, what about 35 shares ?. I tried holding a portfolio of HY mainly FTSE 100 shares for a while following my move out of being mainly invested in Prefs, which was the case up until March 2018. I was careful with my stock selections (I thought) and researched each one. However having constructed the portfolio I quickly felt that it was like driving around in an "investment minefield" and it was only going to be a matter of time before another one of my holdings blew up and took a big loss. I restructured again after that and am mostly in ETFs and ITs these days (exact count 6 FTSE 100 stocks, 20 ITs - 6 of which are renewables, 5 ETFs & 5 Prefs). I'm glad to say that this portfolio has performed pretty well and avoids the "investment minefield" problem.


With respect you do not seem to give any strategy time to work. Since March 2018, you have moved from mostly Prefs to a portfolio of 35 HY shares and have restructured again since then so in about 18 months you are now on to your third portfolio. That is an expensive habit and you are not giving any one portfolio time to settle down never mind to work for you.

Dod

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250080

Postby Dod101 » September 7th, 2019, 10:34 am

Silverstar64 wrote:
tikunetih wrote:What actually is the strategy?

Build a diversified portfolio of ITs to produce a dividend income equal to my salary at retirement (additionally I have a current and frozen DB pension, my wife is 100% SIPP), so about half of our current joint income. Also to create a capital value substantial enough to pay any care fees in later retirement assuming a 100 year lifespan.


I would call that an objective not a strategy. And if you hold 51 ITs you have certainly got diversity so that box is ticked.

Dod

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250081

Postby Silverstar64 » September 7th, 2019, 10:40 am

Dod101 wrote:I would call that an objective not a strategy. And if you hold 51 ITs you have certainly got diversity so that box is ticked

You are right I wrote an objective but within it is my strategy which is to invest 95%+ in investment trusts with a few shares for trading opportunities. I'm firmly on the active side of the fence and moved away from OEICS as I sharply reduced company shares over the years.

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250099

Postby PrefInvestor » September 7th, 2019, 11:49 am

Dod101 wrote:
PrefInvestor wrote:Hi TJH, Never mind 51 ITs being too many, what about 35 shares ?. I tried holding a portfolio of HY mainly FTSE 100 shares for a while following my move out of being mainly invested in Prefs, which was the case up until March 2018. I was careful with my stock selections (I thought) and researched each one. However having constructed the portfolio I quickly felt that it was like driving around in an "investment minefield" and it was only going to be a matter of time before another one of my holdings blew up and took a big loss. I restructured again after that and am mostly in ETFs and ITs these days (exact count 6 FTSE 100 stocks, 20 ITs - 6 of which are renewables, 5 ETFs & 5 Prefs). I'm glad to say that this portfolio has performed pretty well and avoids the "investment minefield" problem.


With respect you do not seem to give any strategy time to work. Since March 2018, you have moved from mostly Prefs to a portfolio of 35 HY shares and have restructured again since then so in about 18 months you are now on to your third portfolio. That is an expensive habit and you are not giving any one portfolio time to settle down never mind to work for you.

Dod


Hi Dod, Well I can understand why you say that, but in mitigation I had just come out of my prefs debacle (which if the worst case had happened might have cost me half my assets and decimated my investment income). That worst case was pretty unlikely probably but I thought that I just couldn’t risk it and given the opportunity to get out I did so with about an 11% loss. But then I had virtually doubled my money in prefs since starting in ~2011…….

My HY portfolio I only held for about ~3-4 months probably but the number of FTSE 100 stocks taking 10%+ drops in that time I found quite alarming. Restructuring into ITs and ETFs actually worked out quite well as I sold before the worst of the market falls late last year and was able to buyback into assets that had become much cheaper. To my mind I had just got my post prefs strategy wrong and urgently needed to correct it. This was not a HYP btw, I was unaware of that methodology at the time and wasn’t even registered on this site then.

These days I am feeling reasonably content with my portfolio and see no immediate need for major changes. I have a good mixture of geographies, currencies and asset classes in there and I have seen the benefits of that. I still have my prefs portfolio spreadsheet and HY portfolio spreadsheet available and on a wet weds afternoon I occasionally take a look to see how they are doing compared to my current portfolio. Results as of today is that relative to my current portfolio my old prefs portfolio is UP 1.4% (prices have recovered and the yield on prefs is higher – but I could not go back there again as there are still significant risks I think) my old HY portfolio is DOWN 2.2% (and contains some horribly big losers SAGA -58%, CNA -39%, CSN -39% to name but a few).

I realise that some will view both of my actions as risky and over-reactive. All I can say is that I have made only minor course corrections since my move into ITs and ETFs and am currently feeling pretty comfortable with my portfolio positioning. So far I have recovered roughly half of my pref losses.

ATB

Pref

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250101

Postby Avantegarde » September 7th, 2019, 11:55 am

A few years ago I was a trustee of my employer's huge pension fund. One of our investment advisors said his firm believed that we needed to employ no more than 14 separate investment firms (each with a separate chunk of our money) to get the best balance between returns and diversification. Meanwhile I find that having a portfolio of 15 ITs is the maximum number I can sensibly try to remember without consulting a list which, for a personal investor, is a useful quality.

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250102

Postby tjh290633 » September 7th, 2019, 12:04 pm

Dod101 wrote:
PrefInvestor wrote:Hi TJH, Never mind 51 ITs being too many, what about 35 shares ?. I tried holding a portfolio of HY mainly FTSE 100 shares for a while following my move out of being mainly invested in Prefs, which was the case up until March 2018. I was careful with my stock selections (I thought) and researched each one. However having constructed the portfolio I quickly felt that it was like driving around in an "investment minefield" and it was only going to be a matter of time before another one of my holdings blew up and took a big loss. I restructured again after that and am mostly in ETFs and ITs these days (exact count 6 FTSE 100 stocks, 20 ITs - 6 of which are renewables, 5 ETFs & 5 Prefs). I'm glad to say that this portfolio has performed pretty well and avoids the "investment minefield" problem.


With respect you do not seem to give any strategy time to work. Since March 2018, you have moved from mostly Prefs to a portfolio of 35 HY shares and have restructured again since then so in about 18 months you are now on to your third portfolio. That is an expensive habit and you are not giving any one portfolio time to settle down never mind to work for you.

Dod

Pref, when I started I built up the portfolio in a PEP, which constrained my rate of progress. After 4 years I had about 12 holdings and held it at that for a while. Then Hanson demerged and ICI split Zeneca off. British Gas split off Centrica, but I dumped them, as that was a part of them which I disliked. A few years later I gained Halifax by demutualisation and added Tesco and Whitbread to the mix. That got me to about 20 holdings.

Then ISAs replaced PEPs, and never the twain could mix, so I decided to avoid duplication and added 6 different holdings in an ISA. Add in more demergers and the 2008-9 hiatus, plus a number of takeovers and I got to 37 holdings.

When the idea of HYP was put forward, I realised that I had mostly been following those principles. I reduced the number to 35 when Carillion did an oozlum bird act and I sold Indivior when they stopped paying dividends, before the major fall, fortunately.

Had ISAs not been introduced, I might well be still in the 20s. On the other hand, I might not. Much of the growth in numbers has been organic, rather than deliberate. Sometimes when I sold a low yield share, I bought 2 replacements, rather than top up existing shares, but normally it was 1 out, 1 in.

I'm comfortable with the number that I have, and back when I was investing in funds, 6 or 7 was the typical number that I held. I still have 3 from that time and my wife has 4. If and when I move into ITs, then I think 10 will be my absolute limit.

TJH

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250113

Postby Dod101 » September 7th, 2019, 12:49 pm

PrefInvestor wrote:[My HY portfolio I only held for about ~3-4 months probably but the number of FTSE 100 stocks taking 10%+ drops in that time I found quite alarming. Restructuring into ITs and ETFs actually worked out quite well as I sold before the worst of the market falls late last year and was able to buyback into assets that had become much cheaper. To my mind I had just got my post prefs strategy wrong and urgently needed to correct it. This was not a HYP btw, I was unaware of that methodology at the time and wasn’t even registered on this site then.

. Results as of today is that relative to my current portfolio my old prefs portfolio is UP 1.4% (prices have recovered and the yield on prefs is higher – but I could not go back there again as there are still significant risks I think) my old HY portfolio is DOWN 2.2% (and contains some horribly big losers SAGA -58%, CNA -39%, CSN -39% to name but a few).


CNA (Centrica) down 39%, quite pssible. CSN (Chesnara) down 39% I don't think so. I have held it for some years and it hangs around £3.50 to £4 most of the time. SAGA down 58% I would not know but quite possibly.

I would judge any investment strategy over say 5 years, not less than 5 months, but we are all different. It depends what works for you and my investment strategy which I posted earlier today works well for me but depends so much on what you want from any portfolio. I am primarily interested in income, but I want at least to preserve the real value of the capita as well.

Good luck to you anyway.

Dod

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250116

Postby Dod101 » September 7th, 2019, 12:57 pm

PrefInvestor wrote:

My HY portfolio I only held for about ~3-4 months probably but the number of FTSE 100 stocks taking 10%+ drops in that time I found quite alarming. Restructuring into ITs and ETFs actually worked out quite well as I sold before the worst of the market falls late last year and was able to buyback into assets that had become much cheaper. To my mind I had just got my post prefs strategy wrong and urgently needed to correct it. This was not a HYP btw, I was unaware of that methodology at the time and wasn’t even registered on this site then.

Results as of today is that relative to my current portfolio my old prefs portfolio is UP 1.4% (prices have recovered and the yield on prefs is higher – but I could not go back there again as there are still significant risks I think) my old HY portfolio is DOWN 2.2% (and contains some horribly big losers SAGA -58%, CNA -39%, CSN -39% to name but a few).


Saga down 58% I would not know but quite possibly, ditto CNA (Centrica) but CSN (Chesnara)? I don't think so. It has hovered around £3.40/£4.00 for quite a long time. I have held it for some years.

Anyway it depends what your aim with any portfolio is. Mine is fundamentally income because I live off my income but I need to at least preserve the capital as well. I have managed both of these objectives using my strategy which I outlined in an earlier post today.

I would only judge any investment strategy over about 5 years, not less than 5 months.

Good luck to you.

Dod

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250126

Postby tikunetih » September 7th, 2019, 1:49 pm

Silverstar64 wrote:
Dod101 wrote:
Silverstar64 wrote:Build a diversified portfolio of ITs to produce a dividend income equal to my salary at retirement (additionally I have a current and frozen DB pension, my wife is 100% SIPP), so about half of our current joint income. Also to create a capital value substantial enough to pay any care fees in later retirement assuming a 100 year lifespan.


I would call that an objective not a strategy. And if you hold 51 ITs you have certainly got diversity so that box is ticked.

You are right I wrote an objective but within it is my strategy which is to invest 95%+ in investment trusts with a few shares for trading opportunities. I'm firmly on the active side of the fence and moved away from OEICS as I sharply reduced company shares over the years.



1. Stating "build a ... portfolio of ITs to ..." seems like putting the cart before the horse by jumping straight to an implementation method. Why be so specific about the investment vehicle structure, ruling out alternatives?

2. "produce a dividend income equal to my salary at retirement", that's fair enough, although I would make a similar point to 1. in that by specifying "dividends" you've also limited yourself to a specific way of delivering that income as opposed to being agnostic about potential sources of investment return.


"Strategy" is just a word and we can interpret it in very different ways, but I was sort of hoping to see something less about the end objective and more of the ethos behind the investment approach, if there was one.

For example, I've used trend following strategies and followed a quality factor equity strategy (fairly self-explanatory descriptions); I've followed value strategies focused on identifying mis-priced under-researched companies flying below analysts' radars (size and value factors + trend overlay). Etc, etc.

I could hazard a guess that yours is largely an equity income strategy (since you mention a dividend focus), with perhaps a few other non-equity income sources thrown in? Higher dividend yields involve a (mild) tilt towards value, and sometimes the (smaller) size factor, so perhaps they're part of the mix too. But I'm just guessing here.

Have you thought about it in this way and could perhaps describe the method or ethos?


Whatever it is, I think it's unlikely that 51 ITs is the optimal way of implementing it.

I'll mention as well that reading between the lines, it sounds like perhaps part of the focus on dividends and the very large number of trusts could both have a little bit with you playing (different) mental tricks on yourself in order to retain investment discipline. I suspect we all do that sort of thing, and it can sometimes be useful to understand the what and the why of it.


NB I think the analogy to managers of unfettered funds of funds running portfolios comprising dozens and dozens of underlying funds is a bit bogus IMO, since those managers operate within different constraints to PIs: (i) liquidity prevents them from holding a focused number of funds (ii) if they did hold a focused number of funds plenty of investors would see no utility in buying the unfettered fund of funds and would just cut out the middleman and buy the underlying directly, jeopardizing the manager's livelihood; by holding a large number of funds the managers negate these two risks even though the portfolio may as a result be suboptimal.

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250143

Postby monabri » September 7th, 2019, 3:32 pm

Dod101 wrote:CNA (Centrica) down 39%, quite pssible. CSN (Chesnara) down 39% I don't think so.
Dod


Chesnara 276p per share is the current price.....peak (briefly ) of ~420p

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250165

Postby UnclePhilip » September 7th, 2019, 5:15 pm

I think I must be drifting away from multiple investments in my dotage

I just recently sold about half of our individual shares and bought a couple of Vanguard global tracker ETFs

If we need a bit more income we'll sell a few

All this multiple IT buying makes me dizzy just reading

Perhaps I'm missing a trick; but actually I'm not so sure....

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250174

Postby Dod101 » September 7th, 2019, 5:49 pm

monabri wrote:
Dod101 wrote:CNA (Centrica) down 39%, quite pssible. CSN (Chesnara) down 39% I don't think so.
Dod


Chesnara 276p per share is the current price.....peak (briefly ) of ~420p


But only if Pref bought at the peak (around April 2018) and sold after July 2019. He said he only kept the HY portfolio for 3-4 months. It is only since July that the Chesnara price has been hammered. It was around £3.50 for most of the previous year when I think it that Pref was active with his HY portfolio.

It would be interesting to know why Chesnara seems to have lost the confidence of the market but then these somewhat zombie insurers place great emphasis on cash generation and they did not come up with the goods at the recent half year results. I expect it will recover

Dod

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250195

Postby OhNoNotimAgain » September 7th, 2019, 7:31 pm

Itsallaguess wrote:
OhNoNotimAgain wrote:
Itsallaguess wrote:

..and I can hand-on-heart say that changing tack and moving into income-IT's has been the single best investment decision that I've ever made.


Can you tell us which has given the biggest increase in dividends over the last decade?


I honestly can't...

Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been with my statement above, when I said that moving into income-IT's has been 'the single-best investment-decision that I've ever made' - that wasn't suggesting that my investment performance has increased, but that my comfort-level with a growing income-portfolio has increased really quite dramatically...

I've said this elsewhere, but even if I did know the dividend-performance figures of both 'sections' of my HYP, or even if I knew the total-return figures in addition to that, and I found that I was actually 'performing' slightly worse in my IT-section than I was in my single-share section, I'd really be quite happy with that....

The simple fact is that moving into income-IT's has 'allowed me' to both stay 'fully invested' over many years (I do accumulate variable levels of cash as part of my investment-strategy, but this is simply part of my 'never wanting to actually sell' methodology, and it works well for me personally...) and also to just simply 'continue over the long-term with an investing strategy', which I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to do at the latter stages of my 'single-share-only HYP' years.

Whilst typing this reply, I've noticed that PrefInvestor has described his single-share HYP experience as 'driving around in an investment minefield' (https://tinyurl.com/y3cl5bhw), and I can truly relate to that, having come to a very similar conclusion...

So for me personally, 'staying in the game' is much more important and valuable than the actual strategy I use to do that, and having moved from a single-share HYP strategy that was beginning to make it very difficult to do so, I'm simply over the moon to have now modified my income-strategy into one where I can...

Cheers,

Itsallaguess


Does anyone know? I would have thought it would be quite important to know.

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250212

Postby Itsallaguess » September 7th, 2019, 9:19 pm

OhNoNotimAgain wrote:
Itsallaguess wrote:
OhNoNotimAgain wrote:
Can you tell us which has given the biggest increase in dividends over the last decade?


I honestly can't...

Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been with my statement above, when I said that moving into income-IT's has been 'the single-best investment-decision that I've ever made' - that wasn't suggesting that my investment performance has increased, but that my comfort-level with a growing income-portfolio has increased really quite dramatically...

I've said this elsewhere, but even if I did know the dividend-performance figures of both 'sections' of my HYP, or even if I knew the total-return figures in addition to that, and I found that I was actually 'performing' slightly worse in my IT-section than I was in my single-share section, I'd really be quite happy with that....


Does anyone know?

I would have thought it would be quite important to know.


It's not a priority for me at all, but of course your priorities may well be different to mine....

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250221

Postby PrefInvestor » September 7th, 2019, 10:16 pm

Dod101 wrote:
monabri wrote:
Dod101 wrote:CNA (Centrica) down 39%, quite pssible. CSN (Chesnara) down 39% I don't think so.
Dod


Chesnara 276p per share is the current price.....peak (briefly ) of ~420p


But only if Pref bought at the peak (around April 2018) and sold after July 2019. He said he only kept the HY portfolio for 3-4 months. It is only since July that the Chesnara price has been hammered. It was around £3.50 for most of the previous year when I think it that Pref was active with his HY portfolio.

It would be interesting to know why Chesnara seems to have lost the confidence of the market but then these somewhat zombie insurers place great emphasis on cash generation and they did not come up with the goods at the recent half year results. I expect it will recover

Dod


Hi Dod, No you were right I obviously mistyped the figure for Chesnara and the loss there should have been 28% not 38%. I bought at 408.x on 18/4/18 and they closed at 276p on Friday, that’s almost 32% down but then there were about 20p of dividends to add to that I think so (408-276+20)/408 = 112/408 or 27.5% sounds about right.

Mind you i can’t guarantee that the dividend records in my old spreadsheets are 100% correct as pretty obviously I don’t maintain them now. That said when I am maintaining dividend records I usually keep records for 12 months ahead so they shouldn’t be that far wrong.

I should ditch all these old spreadsheets really but sometimes it’s interesting to look back and see what would have happened if you had taken a different path.

ATB

Pref

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Re: Proportion of portfolio in Investment Trusts

#250250

Postby TUK020 » September 8th, 2019, 8:01 am

tjh290633 wrote: If and when I move into ITs, then I think 10 will be my absolute limit.

TJH


Terry,
Is that number an intuitive choice, or is there a chain of reasoning behind it?
TUK020


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