A total of 32 investment trusts would have made investors more than £1 million if they had invested the full annual ISA allowance in the same trust each year, according to new research from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

Those with the foresight to invest their full ISA allowance annually from 1999 to 2023 – a not insignificant £306,560 – reinvesting the dividends into either of the two top performers, HgCapital Trust and Allianz Technology Trust, would have bagged a tax-free pot in excess of a cool £2 million by 31 January 2024.

Technology is the dominant theme among the top four trusts – HgCapital Trust, which invests in unquoted software and technology services businesses, led the pack, returning £2,254,391; then came Allianz Technology Trust and Polar Capital Technology, which both invest in a global portfolio of technology companies, with returns at, or around £2m.

Scottish Mortgage, a global trust with a growth-focused mandate, returned a very respectable, with £1.6m and the only non tech-based trust in the top 5, Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies, which returned over £1.5m by investing mainly in smaller Asian quoted companies.

Both HgCapital Trust and Scottish Mortgage invest at least part of their portfolio in unquoted companies.

Among the 32 in the ‘ISA millionaire’ club, 12 focus on smaller companies; four of them are from the UK Smaller Companies sector with BlackRock Throgmorton Trust performing best, returning £1.2 at tenth place in the table.

Three of the trusts are from the Asia Pacific Smaller Companies sector, of which the best performing is Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies; a further three are from the European Smaller Companies sector, of which European Smaller Companies is the best performing, returning £1.1m.

The 32 ‘ISA millionaire’ investment trusts


Rank Trust name AIC sector % share price total return

06/04/1999 to 31/01/2024

Total ISA investment

value at 31/01/2024

1 HgCapital Trust Private Equity 3,700 £2,254,391
2 Allianz Technology Trust Technology & Technology Innovation 1,894 £2,095,955
3 Polar Capital Technology Technology & Technology Innovation 1,573 £1,912,656
4 Scottish Mortgage Global 1,366 £1,639,261
5 Scottish Oriental Smaller Companies Asia Pacific Smaller Companies 4,024 £1,538,589
6 abrdn Asia Focus Asia Pacific Smaller Companies 3,742 £1,491,435
7 JPMorgan American North America 889 £1,413,500
8 Pacific Horizon Investment Trust Asia Pacific 2,334 £1,303,270
9 JPMorgan Global Growth & Income Global Equity Income 923 £1,268,898
10 BlackRock Throgmorton Trust UK Smaller Companies 1,252 £1,214,138
11 Worldwide Healthcare Trust Biotechnology & Healthcare 1,999 £1,197,232
12 International Biotechnology Biotechnology & Healthcare 1,846 £1,194,730
13 Fidelity European Trust Europe 1,725 £1,188,448
14 Biotech Growth Trust Biotechnology & Healthcare 1,317 £1,169,361
15 Canadian General Investments North America 1,439 £1,159,765
16 BlackRock Smaller Companies UK Smaller Companies 1,138 £1,157,120
17 Mid Wynd International Global 1,182 £1,142,541
18 Rights & Issues Investment Trust UK Smaller Companies 1,588 £1,134,352
19 JPMorgan UK Smaller Companies UK Smaller Companies 1,268 £1,123,473
20 European Smaller Companies European Smaller Companies 906 £1,112,995
21 JPMorgan European Discovery European Smaller Companies 1,664 £1,087,689
22 JPMorgan US Smaller Companies North American Smaller Companies 1,238 £1,086,589
23 Herald Investment Trust Global Smaller Companies 855 £1,077,135
24 JPMorgan Indian India/Indian Subcontinent 1,778 £1,076,331
25 Montanaro European Smaller Companies European Smaller Companies 917 £1,066,051
26 ICG Enterprise Trust Private Equity 580 £1,065,553
27 AVI Global Trust Global 1,482 £1,058,026
28 Fidelity Asian Values Asia Pacific Smaller Companies 806 £1,055,507
29 BlackRock World Mining Trust Commodities & Natural Resources 1,853 £1,037,056
30 Pantheon International Private Equity 1,017 £1,027,265
31 F&C Investment Trust Global 681 £1,007,460
32 Henderson European Focus Trust Europe 745 £1,005,182

Source: www.aic.co.uk / Morningstar. % share price total return is for a single lump sum invested at the beginning of the period. Total ISA investment value is the total value of an investment on 31/01/2024 if the maximum ISA limit for each year had been invested annually from 1999 to 2023, with the investment being made on 6 April each year.
Annabel Brodie-Smith, Communications Director of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “It’s been a challenging time for investors recently, with high inflation coupled with geopolitical tensions and an uncertain outlook.

“In difficult times, it’s important for investors to take a long-term approach to their investments. Investment trusts have been in existence for more than 155 years, surviving two World Wars, the Great Depression, the 1970s era of high inflation, the tech boom (and bust), the financial crisis and the pandemic. They have a fixed pool of capital which means investment trust managers can take a long-term view of their portfolio, holding on to assets during market downturns, rather than being forced to sell them at cheap prices.

“Our research shows that despite the current challenging economic environment, 32 investment trusts would have returned more than £1 million for ISA savers who invested their entire allowance each year since 1999 – with two returning more than £2 million. When investing, it’s vital to spread your risk, as no-one knows which will be the best performing investment trusts in the future. A diversified portfolio which meets your needs is the best way to success over the long-term. If investors are in doubt about which trust is right for them, it’s important to speak to a financial adviser.”

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