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About this investment trust

The Company aims to secure long-term capital growth and an attractive total return primarily through investing in quoted securities in Latin America.

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

Why choose it?

Latin American countries hold a wealth of opportunities for long-term investors keen to participate in the region's growth and diversity. Our experienced team draws on its extensive network in the region to uncover the most compelling opportunities across a variety of countries and sectors.

Diversification and asset allocation may not fully protect you from market risk.

Suited to…

Investors with a long-term horizon who want to include Latin American shares in their portfolio and are able to tolerate periods of market volatility in pursuit of capital growth. This means shares prices may rise and fall more frequently.

What are the risks?

  • Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.
  • Overseas investment will be affected by movements in currency exchange rates.
  • Emerging market investments are usually associated with higher investment risk than developed market investments. Therefore the value of these investments may be unpredictable and subject to greater variation.
  • Investment strategies, such as borrowing, used by the Trust can result in even larger losses suffered when the value of the underlying investments fall.

Useful information

Fees & Charges

Annual Expenses as at Date: 31/12/2019

Ongoing Charge (including any Performance Fee): 1.1%

Management Fee Summary: The management fee is 0.80% per annum of the Company's NAV.

  • ISIN: GB0005058408

    Sedol: 0505840

    Bloomberg: BRLA LN

    Reuters: BRLA.L

    LSE code: BRLA

  • Name of Company: BlackRock Fund Managers Limited

    Telephone: 020 7743 3000

    Email: cosec@blackrock.com

    Website: www.blackrock.com/uk

    Correspondence Address: Investor Services
    BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited
    12 Throgmorton Avenue
    London
    EC2N 2DL

    Name of Registrar: Computershare PLC

    Registered Office: 12 Throgmorton Avenue
    London
    EC2N 2DL

    Registrar Telephone: +44 (0)370 707 1112

    Place of Registration: England

    Registered Number: 2479975

  • Year End: 31 December

    Results Announced: March (final)

    AGM: May

    Dividends Paid: February, May, August and November

Fund manager commentary

31 December 2020

Please note that the commentary below includes historic information in respect of the performance of portfolio investments, index performance data and the Company’s NAV and share performance.

The figures shown relate to past performance. Past Performance is not a reliable indicator of current or future results.

For the month of December 2020, the Company’s NAV returned 10.1%1 with the share price moving 11.3%1. The Company’s benchmark, the MSCI EM Latin America Index, returned 9.3%1 on a net basis (all performance figures are in sterling terms with dividends reinvested).

Latin American (LatAm) equities performed strongly in December, outperforming the developed and emerging markets. All LatAm countries posted positive performance, with Brazil and Colombia leading the rise. LatAm stocks rose on optimism over the global rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and a slide in the US Dollar.

Stock selection in Mexico contributed the most to relative performance over the period, while allocation in Colombia detracted most from relative returns. An overweight position in Brazilian bank, Banco Bradesco, contributed the most to relative performance as the bank’s earnings should be positively impacted following the improvement in the global outlook with the positive progress on Brazil’s macro scenario. The portfolio’s lack of exposure to the Mexican multinational beverage and retail company, Fomento Economico Mexicano, also added to relative performance as the stock underperformed the benchmark due to increased mobility restrictions in Mexico. Conversely, an off-benchmark holding in Afya, a Brazilian medical education group, was the top detractor on a relative basis as the stock gave back gains following a strong period of outperformance (year to date). An overweight position in Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, a Chilean Lithium company, also weighed on returns during December. Despite the short-term headwind to relative performance, the stock appreciated in value by more than 80% in 2020 and remains well positioned to be a low-cost leader in lithium production, an industry that should continue to see strong demand as the global expansion of the market for electronic vehicles gains pace.

Over the month we added to the Argentinian IT and software development company, Globant, on the back of attractive valuations (given recent relative underperformance). We believe that the company has earnings upside potential from a strong pipeline of demand for its products. We initiated a position in the Brazilian bank, Banco BTG Pactual, on expectations of strong earnings growth relative to traditional banks (given the company’s market share gains and the growth in asset management and wealth management industries). We reduced exposure to the Brazilian e-commerce company, B2W Companhia, due to pressure on market share and strong competition. We sold our holding in the Brazilian petroleum distributor, Petrobras Distribuidora, as we fear that the valuation is mostly fair, based on our view of an increasingly competitive industry and falling marginal returns. The portfolio ended the month being overweight to Mexico and Chile, whilst being underweight to Peru and Colombia. At the sector level, we are overweight materials and real estate; and underweight consumer staples and utilities.

As we have seen, COVID-19 has devastated the global economy in 2020, with LatAm hit especially hard. As we look in to 2021, we see politics and vaccine hopes as catalysts for a reflation trade. Despite the strong fourth quarter performance of LatAm equities, the region remains cheaper than developed markets and emerging markets on both a forward P/E (price to earning) basis and trailing P/BV (price to book value) basis. We are optimistic on returns for Latin American equities going forward, given the prospect for low global interest rates to persist over the medium-term, economic recovery in 2021 and anticipation of a weaker US Dollar environment favouring LatAm currencies. Furthermore, LatAm equities have benefited from a recent global value rotation in the market, which we expect to continue into the new year. Higher raw material prices should also provide a tailwind for LatAm given the high level of commodity exports across major economies in the region. Focusing on Brazil, more cyclical and credit-dependent sectors appear to be recovering faster. This sectoral dynamic suggests that the Brazillian Central Bank’s liquidation and risk reduction measures have, thus far, not only prevented an explosion in defaults but have also allowed banks to cushion the negative impacts of the crisis, with credit playing an important anti-cyclical roll. In the long-run, to consolidate this recovery, we believe that stringent fiscal discipline is needed to limit the fiscal legacy of emergency measures.

Source: Unless otherwise stated all data is sourced from BlackRock as at 31 December 2020.

Source: 1Datastream as at 31 December 2020

Any opinions or forecasts represent an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results.
This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research, investment advice or a recommendation.

Risk: Reference to the names of each company mentioned in this communication is merely for explaining the investment strategy, and should not be construed as investment advice or investment recommendation of those companies

Portfolio manager biographies

Edward Kuczma, is co-manager of the BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust plc. Ed is a Portfolio Manager for BlackRock's Latin American Equity funds and a member of the Global Emerging Markets Equity team within BlackRock's Fundamental Active Equity business. He is a seasoned veteran of the emerging markets asset class with over 15 years of investment experience across all sectors and countries in Latin America. Ed has a BSc degree as a double major in Finance and Business Administration from Georgetown University and is a CFA charterholder.

Sam Vecht is co-manager of the BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust plc. He is Head of the Emerging Europe, Frontiers and LatAm team within the Fundamental Active Equity division of BlackRock's Active Equities Group and is responsible for managing long-only and long/short portfolios in both Emerging and Frontier markets. He is also co-manager of the BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust plc and BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust plc. Sam joined BlackRock in 2000 in the Global Emerging Markets Team. He has a degree in international relations and history.

Edward Kuczma profile photo
Edward Kuczma
Portfolio Manager
Sam Vecht profile photo
Sam Vecht
Portfolio Manager

Board of directors

Carolan Dobson (Chairman) was appointed as a Director on 1 January 2016 and as Chairman on 2 March 2017. She is the former Head of UK Equities at Abbey Asset Managers and former Head of Investment Trusts at Murray Johnstone and therefore brings a wealth of industry experience to the Board. She is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Brunner Investment Trust plc and Baillie Gifford UK Growth Fund plc.

Craig Cleland was appointed as a Director on 1 January 2019 and Chairman of the Audit Committee from 31 March 2019. He is Head of Corporate Development/Investment Trusts at CQS (UK) LLP, a multi-asset asset management firm in London with a focus on credit markets, where his responsibilities include advising and developing the closed-end fund business. He is also a Director of Invesco Perpetual Select Trust plc and Martin Currie Asia Unconstrained Trust plc. He was previously at JPMorgan Asset Management (UK) Limited, latterly as Managing Director, and led their technical groups in the investment trust business. Prior to that, he was a Director and Senior Company Secretary at Fleming Investment Trust Management, transferring to JPMorgan Asset Management after Chase Manhattan Bank acquired Robert Fleming Holdings Limited.

Mahrukh Doctor was appointed as a Director on 17 November 2009. Dr Doctor is a senior lecturer in political economy at the University of Hull, specialising in Latin America. Previously she was Adjunct Associate Professor at the John Hopkins University SAIS Europe in Bologna and Research Fellow at St. Anthony's College and the Centre for Brazilian Studies at the University of Oxford and an Economist at the World Bank. She has been the Brazil expert on the Oxford Analytica International Conference Latin America panel since 2002.

Laurie Meister was appointed as a Director on 1 February 2020. Ms Meister has 32 years of financial markets experience, both in New York and in London, with 28 years dedicated to having led and developed Latin American equity and capital markets businesses and other emerging markets. Her most recent position was as the Director of Latin American equity sales for European institutional clients for Deutsche Bank from 2008 to 2018. Prior to this she worked for J.P. Morgan Chase as a Director with responsibility for rebuilding the Cemea (Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) equity business and then became the Senior European Equity Director for their Latin American equity business. Her initial experiences in the Latin American equity arena included the European start up in the early 1990s of the Merrill Lynch Latin American research sales operation. She then moved as a Managing Director to Robert Flemings in 1995 where she co-led the start-up of their Latin American trading sales and research operations across the region. Ms Meister has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in Finance from the New York University Stern School.

Nigel Webber was appointed as a Director on 1 April 2017. Mr Webber’s broad investment experience has seen him lead the design of investment solutions for affluent and high-net-worth individuals across global markets and multiple asset classes. Most recently, he was Global Chief Investment Officer for HSBC Private Banking where he held global responsibility for all investment activity for Group Private Banking. During his time at HSBC, Mr Webber was also Chairman of the Global Investment Committee for Group Private Bank and Chairman for HSBC Alternative Investments Limited. Prior to this, he held a number of blue-chip executive positions around the world for investment and asset management businesses. He is also a qualified accountant.

Investment strategies targeting growth and income
Investment strategies targeting growth and income
Over 25 years of proven experience running investment trusts
Over 27 years of proven experience running investment trusts. (December 2019)
Unparalleled research capabilities
Unparalleled research capabilities and experienced stock pickers
Contact
To get in touch contact us on:
Telephone: 020 7743 3000
Email: cosec@blackrock.com

Investing for recovery

Investing for recovery

It’s been a challenging period for Latin America, but investors may be surprised by the strength of the economic recovery, says Ed Kuczma, Co-Manager.

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