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About this investment trust

The Company aims to achieve long-term capital growth for shareholders through investment mainly in smaller UK quoted companies.

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?

We aim to find the ‘hidden gems’ within the small cap universe, investing in high-quality growth companies that are able to shape their own futures regardless of the wider economic environment. As active managers, we believe this area presents us with an attractive hunting ground: these companies are often under-researched, and pricing is inefficient. This gives us great opportunities to generate returns for our clients over the long term.

Suited to…

Investors looking for carefully selected opportunities among the UK’s vibrant small cap sector for long-term capital growth. Investors need to be able to tolerate variation in their capital.

             

Morningstar Rating: Since January 2012.
Money Observer Award: As at 7 February 2020.
Moneywise Award: As at 29 March 2020.
Awards/Ratings have not been superseded to date.

The Morningstar Analyst Rating is subjective in nature and reflects Morningstar’s current expectations of future events/behaviour as they relate to a particular fund. Because such events/behaviour may turn out to be different than expected, Morningstar does not guarantee that a fund will perform in line with its Morningstar Analyst Rating. Likewise, the Morningstar Analyst Rating should not be seen as any sort of guarantee or assessment of the creditworthiness of a fund or of its underlying securities and should not be used as the sole basis for making any investment decision.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results and should not be the sole factor of consideration when selecting a product or strategy.

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.
  • Net Asset Value (NAV) performance is not the same as share price performance, and shareholders may realise returns that are lower or higher than NAV performance.
  • The Trust’s investments may have low liquidity which often causes the value of these investments to be less predictable. In extreme cases, the Trust may not be able to realise the investment at the latest market price or at a price considered fair.
  • Investment strategies, such as borrowing, used by the Trust can result in even larger losses suffered when the value of the underlying investments fall.
  • Smaller company investments are often associated with greater investment risk than those of larger company shares.

Useful information

Fees & Charges

Annual Expenses as at Date: 28/02/2021

Ongoing Charge (including any Performance Fee): 0.8%

Important Notice: Key Investor Document (KID) – Other Ongoing Costs disclosure error
During the period 5th March 2021 – 6th April 2021, the figure for “Other ongoing costs” included within the “Composition of costs” section of the KID was incorrectly stated as 0.74%. The correct figure should have been 0.81%. This has now been updated in the revised KID that was published on 7 April 2021. The “Total costs” figure included in the KID, together with the stated “Impact on return (RIY) per year”, were correct throughout the period.

Please accept our apologies for the error. You are not required to take any action as a result of this statement. If you have any queries regarding the above, please contact our Investor Services Team by email at uk.investor@blackrock.com. Alternatively, please feel free to contact us by telephone on 0800 44 55 22, quoting the relevant account number. Our lines are open from 8.30am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. For your protection, telephone calls may be recorded.

Management Fee Summary: BlackRock receives an annual fee which is calculated based on 0.60% in respect of the first GBP 750m of the Company's total assets less current liabilities, reducing to 0.50% thereafter. There are no performance fee arrangements in place.

 

  • ISIN: GB0006436108

    Sedol: 0643610

    Bloomberg: BRSC:LN

    Reuters: BRSC.L

    LSE code: BRSC

  • 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: Exchange Place 1

    1 Semple Street

    Edinburgh EH3 8BL

    Registrar Telephone: +44 (0)370 707 1649

    Place of Registration: Scotland

    Registered Number: 006176

  • Year End: 28 February

    Results Announced: October (interim), April/May (final)

    AGM: July

    Dividends Paid: November (interim), June (final)

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Fund manager commentary

30 April 2021

Please note that the commentary below includes historic information on the Company’s NAV performance and index performance. 

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

During April the Company’s NAV per share rose by 9.0%1 to 2,021.83p on a capital only basis, outperforming our benchmark index which returned 5.6%1; for comparison the FTSE 100 Index rose by 3.8%1 on a capital only basis.

Equity markets continued to rise during April, buoyed by the continued positive signs from the COVID-19 vaccine deployment and a strong corporate earnings season. The 12th of April brought the re-opening of outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail in the UK as COVID-19 cases and death numbers fell. The ONS weekly indicators of the COVID-19 impact on the UK economy suggested that the return to normal had accelerated; compared to pre-pandemic levels, overall credit and debit card payments recovered to 98%, road traffic climbed to 103% and the proportion of the workforce on furlough declined to 13%. The style rotation from growth into value, which was such a dominant driver of markets in the first quarter, seemingly paused during April as bottom-up fundamentals were the driving force behind market movements.

Positive earnings result were the key driver of the Company’s NAV outperformance during the month, with a number of our holdings beating expectations and raising guidance. Shares in the sustainable-focused fund manager Impax Asset Management rallied after the company reported another strong quarter of AUM growth, with a 19% increase in the first 3 months of 2021. Treatt, the manufacturer of flavour and fragrance ingredients, rose in response to another positive update which confirmed that the company has continued to trade in line with the board’s recently increased guidance (as revised from January 2021). Construction group Morgan Sindall provided an impressive trading update showing strong growth across the business since the start of the year, with upgrades to full year guidance. The backdrop of rising demand for affordable housing, urban regeneration and infrastructure investment continues to propel the group’s secured order book, whilst operational delivery is expected to drive margin improvement throughout the year.

The positive earnings news across the market meant the largest detractors to performance were outperforming shares in the benchmark which were not owned in the portfolio.  Amongst stocks that we did own, our holdings Stock Spirits, 4imprint and Team17 underperformed despite no stock-specific newsflow.

In the UK the vaccine rollout and the pace of re-opening continues to look positive and remains a key focus for investors.  Like everyone we are monitoring the situation closely, and whilst there is always a risk a “variant of concern” may cause the re-opening plan to stutter, at this time we still believe the vaccine will ultimately see us return to a more normal way of life. The strength of trading shown in the recent reporting season provides us with confidence in our current positioning and the outlook for many businesses across the portfolio continues to improve. We also continue to see evidence of those companies that went into the Covid crisis in a strong position, both financially and operationally, are now emerging in even stronger positions. The ability of well-financed, market-leading businesses to improve their relative positions in times of stress has always been one of our core beliefs, and this crisis has only reinforced that belief.

We continue to focus on bottom-up company fundamentals, with a bias towards high quality market leading global businesses, which are operating in attractive end markets and run by strong management teams. The road ahead remains uncertain, and there is potential for sharp spikes in volatility.  However, as always, we believe that focusing on the micro will triumph over the macro headwinds, and historically volatility has always created opportunity for this strategy. We thank shareholders for their continued support.

Source: Unless otherwise stated all data is sourced from BlackRock as at 30 April 2021.

Source: 1Datastream as at 30 April 2021.

Any opinions or forecasts represent an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is 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 biography

Roland Arnold is manager of BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust plc and a member of the UK Equity Team. Mr Arnold has been co-manager of the BlackRock UK Special Situations Fund since August 2012, and manager of Small & Mid Cap UK Equity Portfolios since 2006. Roland’s service with the firm dates back to 2000, including his years with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM), which merged with BlackRock in 2006.

Roland Arnold
Portfolio Manager
Roland Arnold

Board of directors

All of the Directors are independent of the management company and are members of the Audit Committee and the Management Engagement Committee.

Ronald Gould (Chairman) was appointed to the Board in April 2019 and became chairman of the Company in June 2019. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of ONE Re Ltd and Chairman of Think Alliance Asia and Compliance Science Ltd, and was previously a Non-Executive Director of the JPMorgan Asian Investment Trust plc. He was also previously Managing Director and Head of the Promontory Financial Group in China, CEO of Chi-X Asia Pacific, Senior Adviser to the UK Financial Services Authority, CEO of investment bank ABG Sundal Collier and Vice Chairman of Barclays Bank asset management activities.

Caroline Burton was appointed to the Board in July 2011. She is a member of the committee of management of Hermes Property Unit Trust. She was previously a non-executive director of Liverpool Victoria, LVGIG Limited and TR Property Investment Trust plc. She has almost forty years of investment experience across a wide range of asset classes and geographies acting with a variety of different types of investor. She has been involved with investment trusts for many years, as well as with insurance companies, wealth managers and pension funds.

Susan Platts-Martin (Senior Independent Director) appointed on 21 April 2016, is the Chairman of Baillie Gifford China Growth Trust plc and sits on the Advisory Board of the Barings Targeted Return Fund. She previously acted as Protector of Power to Change Trust. A qualified chartered accountant with 26 years' experience in financial services, she was the first head of investment trusts at Fidelity International, responsible for establishing and growing a successful investment trust business. She has experience of both open and closed ended funds having also been director of product development and head of fund accounting at Fidelity.

Mark Little (Chairman of the Audit Committee) was appointed to the Board on 1 October 2020. He is a non-executive director and also chairs the audit committees of the Majedie Investment Trust Plc and Securities Trust of Scotland Plc. He was also previously Investment Director at Seven Investment Management and a non-executive director (and audit committee chairman) of Sanditon Investment Trust plc as well as a non-executive director for the start-up business UWI Technology and the charity Winning Scotland Foundation. Mr Little has a wealth of experience in the financial services sector, and began his career as a fund manager with Scottish Widows Investment Management after qualifying as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse in 1991. He subsequently worked as Global Head of Automotive Research for Deutsche Bank and joined Barclays Wealth in 2005, where he became Managing Director of Barclays Wealth (Scotland and Northern Ireland).

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

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