Private Equity Investment Trusts. Leonora Walters Deputy Personal Finance Editor Investors Chronicle

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1 Private Equity Investment Trusts Leonora Walters Deputy Personal Finance Editor Investors Chronicle

2 What is a private equity investment trust? Private equity investment trusts are funds which invest in unlisted companies, often early stage ones, aiming to increase their long-term value so they can eventually be sold or floated on a stock exchange for a higher price.

3 There are two main types of private equity investment trust those that invest directly in unlisted companies; and those that invest in private equity funds. Some trusts invest in both, for example Graphite Enterprise (GPE)

4 Why invest in a private equity investment trust? Historically private equity trusts have made good returns relative to listed equities Returns, in particular net asset value, may take a different path to listed equities providing diversification You can t access this asset directly Private equity investment trusts are in better shape than before the financial crisis Investment trusts are a good structure for investing in assets that are hard to buy and sell: the manager is not forced to sell holdings to return cash to investors withdrawing from the fund.

5 Risk Appetite Private equity investment trusts can make fantastic returns but they are higher risk than trusts which invest in listed equities. You should only consider them if you have a: high risk appetite long-term time horizon; large portfolio, of which your total allocation to private equity should only account for a small part, not more than 10%

6 Risk Economic slowdown or fall in equity markets Negative sentiment can depress share price however well an individual trust is doing Large discounts to net asset value Valuations less transparent Debt Shares traded less Higher charges Good value?

7 What to consider when choosing a trust Past performance - this varies considerably between different trusts Longevity and experience of its managers Portfolio maturity: if you get a lot of investments of four years or older there should be scope for exits The number of underlying investments Direct investment or fund of funds? Geographic and sector exposure Kind of underlying investments - e.g. venture capital, buy-outs Level of outstanding commitments, debt and cash Has the trust been shareholder friendly in the past few years - e.g. returned money or taken action to reduce debt?

8 Suggestions funds which invest directly Electra Private Equity (ELTA) Good long-term performance record Benefiting from recent realisations Larger and easier to trade Aims for a return on equity of 10 to 15 per cent a year over long term Invests in all sectors across the capital structure Invests in various forms of private equity: buyouts, growth capital, secondary portfolios and debt Discount has come in 13% against 16% 12 month average.

9 Suggestions funds which invest directly HgCapital Trust (HGT) Good long-term performance record Solid steady returns with positive net asset value returns in most calendar years including 2008 the year the FTSE All Share plunged 30 per cent Invests in UK and European healthcare, industrials, services, TMT and renewable energy Focuses on buyouts Doesn t offer the greatest value due to considerable discount tightening

10 Suggestions fund of funds Graphite Enterprise Trust (GPE) Strong performance record top net asset value returns over one, three and five years Cautious approach: buyouts of mature and profitable companies rather than venture capital and risky, early-stage companies IC Top 100 Fund Discount to NAV has tightened but still offers value

11 Suggestions fund of funds Pantheon International Participations (PIN) Highly diversified offers exposure to private equity from around the world Invests in over 300 private equity managers via more than 600 funds Mixture of venture and growth, small and mid buy-outs, and large/mega buy-outs Steady net asset value returns, positive most years including 2008 Generating cash from its mature portfolio Well placed to see further realisations IC Top 100 Fund Discount tighter than 12 month average

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