BUT has outperformed its composite benchmark for the fifth consecutive financial year…by Nicholas Todd




Brunner (BUT) aims to provide investors with a balanced, all-weather global equity portfolio. Julian Bishop and Christian Schneider are the current stewards of the unchanged, bottom-up focussed investment strategy, which aims to balance quality, growth, and valuation characteristics to achieve both capital and income growth over the long term. Simon Gergel and James Ashworth are also part of BUT’s portfolio management team, with more support provided by the wider resources at Allianz Global Investors.

As discussed in Portfolio, three core secular growth trends form the foundations of the portfolio’s construction including artificial intelligence, travel, and healthcare. However, Julian and the team focus on identifying operationally robust businesses, with strong management teams, demonstratable competitive advantages, and superior long-term growth prospects. Valuations are a core component of the fundamental analysis which has seen them top slice from high-performing holdings to more pure-play value holdings, such as banks, in recent months. Historically, there has been a significant allocation to UK equities, currently 22%.

As discussed in Performance, the success of the strategy is reflected in BUT’s significant cumulative 35.3% outperformance of the global sector over the past five years (as of 22/04/2024), and fifth year of outperformance versus the composite benchmark—highlighting the merits of a core strategy in a market that has been driven by stylistic biases. This has been helped by the team’s consistent, yet cautious use of structural Gearing. In addition, BUT has managed to deliver 52 consecutive years of dividend growth (see Dividend).

In recent months the trust’s discount has narrowed to 5.1%—more than one standard deviation from its five-year average.


Analyst’s View

In the words of BUT’s chair, Carolan Dobson, BUT has been “doing exactly what it says on the tin”, and we are inclined to agree. The consistency of the trust’s performance over what has been a volatile five-year period in financial markets demonstrates the trust’s all-weather characteristics. Although the macroeconomic environment looks to have stabilised, with rate cuts looking likely to come at the end of the year, the market’s expectations have declined, meaning that the wind may come out of the sails of growthier-focussed strategies. In our view, this highlights the benefits of a more balanced strategy that can provide some diversification across its most high-conviction holdings.

Although there has been a relatively high level of turnover amongst the trust’s management team over the past several years, with Juian Bishop and Christian Schneider at the helm we believe it is once again showing signs of stability. With the continued support from the highly experienced Simon Gergel, newer addition James Ashworth, and the wider Allianz GI investment team, we believe it provides the diversified sources of opinion which should lend itself to the balanced portfolio that has become synonymous with BUT.

Although BUT has seen its discount come in over the last six months, we believe there is scope for it to narrow from here given the additional resources being dedicated to increasing the visibility of the trust’s all-weather characteristics.



  • Consistent performance record
  • Balance between quality, growth, and value may provide stability in an uncertain environment
  • Diversified underlying holdings compared to peer group and global indices




  • High level of manager turnover over the past several years
  • Gearing can exaggerate downside, as well as enhance upside
  • Historically, the discount has traded at wider levels

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Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication. This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by Brunner. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

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