Changes to investment objective and policy
Approved by shareholders on 29 July

Read more > Watch >
Paragraph-1,Paragraph-2,Paragraph-3,Paragraph-4,Resource List-1
Paragraph-5,Accordion-1,Free Form Html-3
Paragraph-6,Related Content-1
Paragraph-7
Paragraph-8,Multi Column Teaser-1,Paragraph-9

About this investment trust

BlackRock North American Income Trust plc was renamed BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc following approval by shareholders on 29 July 2021. Click here to hear from Co-Portfolio Manager, David Zhao, as he talks through the changes to the Trust's investment objective and policy and how they will impact the management of the Trust.

The Company's new investment objective is to provide an attractive level of income return together with capital appreciation over the long term, in a manner consistent with the principles of sustainable investing adopted by the Company.

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?

Persistent low interest rates have made it a challenge for investors to find consistent sources of income. The Trust’s managers select high quality, income generative companies from across North America, with sustainability at the heart of its investment approach. In a lower growth world, the Trust aims to uncover dynamic companies with the power to compound growth over many years.

Suited to…

Investors looking for a carefully selected, sustainable, actively managed portfolio of high-quality North American businesses, designed to deliver long-term income and capital growth.

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.
  • 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.
  • Investment strategies, such as borrowing, used by the Trust can result in even larger losses suffered when the value of the underlying investments fall.
  • The Trust may use derivatives to aim to generate more income. This may reduce the potential for capital growth.
  • Investors in this Trust should understand that capital growth is not a priority and values may fluctuate and the level of income may vary from time to time and is not guaranteed.
  • The Trust uses derivatives as part of its investment strategy. Compared to a fund which only invests in traditional instruments such as stocks and bonds, derivatives are potentially subject to a higher level of risk.

Useful information

Fees & Charges

Annual Expenses as at Date: 31 December 2020

Ongoing Charge (including any Performance Fee): 1.06%

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 1.08%. The correct figure should have been 1.18%. This has now been updated in the revised KID that was published on 7 April 2021.  There has been no financial impact to the Company as a consequence of this error.

Subsequent to the revised KID that was published on 7 April 2021, a new KID has been published following the changes to the investment objective and policy of the Company that were approved by shareholders at the general meeting held on 29 July 2021.

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 management fee of 0.70% of the Company's net assets.

  • ISIN: GB00B7W0XJ61
    Sedol: B7W0XJ6
    Bloomberg: BRSA LN
    Reuters: BRSA.L
    LSE code: BRSA

  • 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)370 873 5879

    Place of Registration: England

    Registered Number: 8196493

  • Year End: 31 October

    Results Announced: June (interim), February (final)

    AGM: March

    Dividends Paid: Quarterly ( April, July, October & January)

Date Time Source Headline Type

Loading table contents...

There are no results.

Recent announcements Page 0 of 0 Previous announcements

The Board’s approach to ESG

The Board believes that responsible investment and sustainability are integral to the longer-term delivery of the Company’s success. The Board works closely with the Investment Manager to regularly review the Company’s performance, investment strategy and underlying policies to ensure that the Company’s investment objective continues to be met in an effective, responsible and sustainable way in the interests of shareholders and future investors.

The Board has been mindful of the increase in demand for investment products that place a sustainable investment philosophy at their core, a trend that has accelerated in recent years. Accordingly, following a thorough review and shareholder approval at a General Meeting held on 29 July 2021, the Company’s investment objective and investment policy were amended to incorporate a sustainable investment approach into the investment policy so that the Company is managed in a way which is compatible with principles of sustainable investment. In addition, one of the Company’s non-executive Directors has responsibility for sustainability, working alongside the rest of the Board and the Investment Manager.

Investment approach

The Investment Manager, in addition to other investment criteria, takes into account the environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics of the portfolio and prospective investments and seeks to deliver a superior ESG outcome versus the reference index (the Russell 1000 Value Index) as measured by a leading external ratings agency, by aiming for the Company’s portfolio to achieve: (i) a better ESG score than the reference index; and (ii) a lower carbon emissions intensity score than the Reference Index.

The Investment Manager applies a screening policy (the BlackRock EMEA baseline screens policy) at the time of investment through which it seeks to limit and/or exclude direct investment (as applicable) in companies which, in the opinion of the Investment Manager, have exposure to, or ties with, certain sectors (in some cases subject to specific revenue thresholds) including but not limited to:

  • the production of certain types of controversial weapons:
  • the distribution or production of firearms or small arms ammunition intended for retail civilians:
  • the extraction of certain types of fossil fuel and/or the generation of power from them:
  • the production of tobacco products or certain activities in relation to tobacco-related products; and
  • issuers which have been deemed to have failed to comply with United Nations Global Compact Principles.

The BlackRock EMEA baseline screens policy will evolve over time as improved data and more research on this subject becomes available. A full list of the current limits and/or exclusions (including any specific threshold criteria is available at https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/publication/blackrock-baseline-screens-in-europe-middleeast-and-africa.pdf

Following application of the screening policy, those companies which have not yet been excluded from investment will then be evaluated by the Investment Manager based on their ability to manage the risks and opportunities associated with ESG-consistent business practices and their ESG risk and opportunity credentials, such as their leadership and governance framework, which is considered essential for sustainable growth, their ability to strategically manage longer-term issues surrounding ESG and the potential impact that this may have on a company’s financials. To undertake the required analyses, the Investment Manager may use data provided by external ESG data providers, proprietary models and local intelligence and may undertake site visits.

Sustainable investing: BlackRock’s approach

Sustainability is BlackRock’s standard for investing, based on the investment conviction that integrating sustainability can help investors build more resilient portfolios and achieve better long term, risk-adjusted returns. BlackRock believes that climate change is a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects and that it will have a significant and lasting impact on economic growth and prosperity. BlackRock believes that climate risk equates to investment risk and this will drive a profound reassessment of risk and asset values as investors seek to react to the impact of climate policy changes. More information in respect of the actions taken by BlackRock in 2020 on making sustainability the new standard for investing can be found at www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/publication/our-2020-sustainability-actions.pdf.  

BlackRock evaluates underlying investments in companies according to good governance criteria, where relevant data is available and as appropriate given the underlying investment type. These criteria relate to sound management structures, employee relations, remuneration of staff and tax compliance. BlackRock may also consider additional factors relating to good governance in its assessment of the sustainability related characteristics of underlying issuers.

Environmental, Social and Governance: integration into BlackRock’s investment management process

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is often used interchangeably with the term “sustainable investing.” BlackRock has identified sustainable investing as being the overall framework and ESG as a data toolkit for identifying and informing our solutions. BlackRock has defined ESG Integration as the practice of incorporating material ESG information and consideration of sustainability risks into investment decisions in order to enhance risk-adjusted returns. BlackRock recognises the relevance of material ESG information across all asset classes and styles of portfolio management. ESG information and sustainability risks are included as a consideration in investment research, portfolio construction, portfolio review and investment stewardship processes. The Investment Manager considers ESG insights and data, including sustainability risks, within the total set of information in its research process and makes a determination as to the materiality of such information in its investment process. ESG insights are not the sole consideration when making investment decisions. The Investment Manager’s evaluation of ESG data may be subjective and could change over time in light of emerging sustainability risks or changing market conditions. This approach is consistent with the Investment Manager’s regulatory duty to manage the Company in accordance with its investment objective and policy and in the best interests of the Company’s investors. The Investment Manager’s Risk and Quantitative Analysis group will review portfolios to ensure that sustainability risks are considered regularly alongside traditional financial risks, that investment decisions are taken in light of relevant sustainability risks and that decisions exposing portfolios to sustainability risks are deliberate, and the risks diversified and scaled according to the investment objectives of the Company.

BlackRock’s approach to ESG integration is to broaden the total amount of information the Investment Manager considers with the aim of improving investment analysis and understanding the likely impact of sustainability risks on the Company’s investments. The Investment Manager assesses a variety of economic and financial indicators, which may include ESG data and insights, to make investment decisions appropriate for the Company objectives. This can include relevant third-party insights or data, internal research or engagement commentary and input from BlackRock Investment Stewardship.

Investment stewardship

BlackRock undertakes investment stewardship engagements and proxy voting with the goal of protecting and enhancing the long-term value of clients’ investments for relevant asset classes. In our experience, sustainable financial performance and value creation are enhanced by sound governance practices, including risk management oversight, board accountability and compliance with regulations. We focus on board composition, effectiveness and accountability as a top priority. In our experience, high standards of corporate governance are the foundations of board leadership and oversight. We engage to better understand how boards assess their effectiveness and performance, as well as their position on director responsibilities and commitments, turnover and succession planning, crisis management and diversity. For further details regarding BlackRock’s work on investment stewardship please refer to the website at https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/about-us/investment-stewardship#ourresponsibility.

Fund manager commentary

31 July 2021

Please note that the commentary below includes historic information on the Company’s NAV performance data, index and share price performance, and also the portfolio’s options exposure and the delta of the options. 

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

For the one-month period ended 31 July 2021, the Company’s NAV decreased by 1.0% and the share price by 0.5% (all in sterling). The Company’s reference index, the Russell 1000 Value Index, returned +0.2%1 for the period.

The largest detractor from relative performance was stock selection in health care, as our selection decisions in the pharmaceuticals and health care equipment and supplies industries proved costly. In real estate, an underweight allocation to the equity real estate investment trusts (REITs) industry also weighed on relative returns. Other detractors during the period included stock selection in consumer discretionary and investment decisions in the financials sector.

The largest contributor to relative performance was security selection in the information technology (IT) sector. Specifically, selection decisions within IT services and software helped relative returns, as did an underweight allocation to the semiconductors and semiconductor equipment industry. In industrials, stock selection in aerospace and defence boosted relative results. Lastly, at the industry level, stock selection in food products and entertainment contributed to relative performance during the period.

Following shareholder approval of the new investment objective and policy at a General Meeting on 29 July the portfolio has been re-organised to reflect the new objective of investing in a manner consistent with the principles of sustainable investing. Additionally, the exposure to medium-cap companies has increased and the number of portfolio holdings reduced, and the latter currently stands at 53. As a consequence of these changes the Company has changed its name to BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc. Further explanation of the recent changes is set out on the Company’s website www.blackrock.com/uk/brsa.          

Transactions

Notable new purchases in the portfolio include Comerica, Woodside Petroleum, PepsiCo and Ralph Lauren. The largest portfolio sales included exiting positions in Comcast, Unilever, BAE Systems and Medtronic.

Positioning

As of the period end, the Company’s largest overweight positions relative to the reference index were in the IT, consumer discretionary and financials sectors. The Company’s largest underweight positions relative to the reference index were in the industrials, real estate and consumer staples sectors.

Source: Unless otherwise stated all data is sourced from BlackRock as at 31 July 2021. 

Source: 1Datastream as at 31 July 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.

Reference to individual investments mentioned in this communication is for illustrative purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or investment recommendation. This should not be construed as investment advice or investment recommendation of those companies.

Portfolio manager biographies

Tony DeSpirito is Co-Manager of the BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc. He is Head of the US Income & Value team and Director of Investments, US Equities within the Fundamental Active Equity business of BlackRock's Active Equity Group. Mr. DeSpirito is the lead Portfolio Manager for the BlackRock Equity Dividend portfolios. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2014, Mr. DeSpirito worked at Pzena Investment Management, where he served as Managing Principal, portfolio manager, and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Mr.DeSpirito was responsible for a suite of large-cap value, all-cap value and two hedge fund portfolios. Having managed value equity assets since 1996, Mr. DeSpirito served as a portfolio manager for the John Hancock Classic Value, PACE Large Company Value, and Vanguard Windsor funds. Mr. DeSpirito earned a BS degree in economics with concentration in finance, summa cum laude, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, and a JD degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1993.

David Zhao is Co-Manager of the BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc. He is Co-Director of Research for the US Income & Value team within the Fundamental Active Equity business of BlackRock's Active Equities Group. Mr. Zhao is a Portfolio Manager for the BlackRock Equity Dividend portfolios.Prior to joining BlackRock, David was a Global Equity Senior Research Analyst and Principal at Pzena Investment Management covering technology, US banks/brokers, medical technology, non-life insurance, financial technology and select industrials. David began his career as an Analyst at Lehman Brothers covering technology M&A; and later within the Institutional Equities Corporate Strategy Group.David holds a BA of Arts with degrees in Economics and Computer Information Systems and graduated Cum Laude from Northwestern University.

Lisa Yang is Co-Manager of the BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc. She is a member of the Fundamental Equities division of BlackRock’s Portfolio Management Group. Ms. Yang is a Research Analyst for the US Income & Value Pillar and she is responsible for coverage of the consumer staples sector. Prior to joining BlackRock, Lisa served as an Equity Research Associate at Wellington Management in Boston where she covered Utilities and Telecoms. Lisa earned a BA degree in Economics and Math from Wellesley College and an MBA degree from Wharton.

Tony DeSpirito profile photo
Tony DeSpirito
Portfolio Manager
david zhao headshot
David Zhao
Portfolio Manager
Lisa yang headshot
Lisa Yang
Portfolio Manager

Board of directors

All the Directors are non-executive and independent of the Investment Manager. The Board as a whole constitutes the Audit and Management Engagement Committee..

Simon Miller (Chairman)  (date of appointment 7 September 2012) is Chairman of Hampden & Co and a Senior Independent Director of STV Group plc. He has recently retired as Chairman of Brewin Dolphin Holdings PLC and was previously Chairman of JPMorgan Global Convertibles Income Fund Limited, Artemis Alpha Trust plc, JPMorgan Elect plc and Amati VCT PLC.

Christopher Casey (Chair of the Audit and Management Engagement Committee) (date of appointment 7 September 2012) was previously a Partner of KPMG LLP and its predecessor firms from 1992, having joined Peat Marwick & Mitchell in 1977. He is Chairman of TR European Growth Trust PLC and a Director of CQS Natural Resources Growth and Income plc, Mobius Investment Trust plc and Life Settlement Assets PLC.

Andrew Irvine  (date of appointment 7 September 2012) is a past Chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle Scotland and has over 35 years’ experience in the field of property development and investment. He is also Chairman of Fidelity Special Values PLC and was previously Chairman of Montanaro European Smaller Companies plc. He is past Chairman of Celtic Rugby and the British and Irish Lions Limited and a past President of the Scottish Rugby Union.

Alice Ryder  (date of appointment 12 June 2013) is a Partner of Stanhope Capital LLP and has more than 28 years’ investment experience, comprising the last fourteen years as an investment consultant in the charity sector and as a fund manager from 1985 to 2002. She is responsible for advising substantial charity and not for profit clients at Stanhope Consulting, a division of Stanhope Capital LLP. She is also a Director of JPMorgan Smaller Companies Investment Trust plc.

Melanie Roberts  (date of appointment 1 October 2019) is a Partner at Sarasin & Partners LLP. She has over 20 years of investment experience and joined Sarasin & Partners in 2011 where she is primarily responsible for the management of charity and pension fund portfolios. Prior to joining Sarasin & Partners, she spent 16 years at Newton Investment Management as a fund manager of charity, private client and pension fund portfolios.

Investment strategies targeting growth and income
Investment strategies targeting growth and income
Over 28 years of proven experience running investment trusts (Dec 2020)
Over 28 years of proven experience running investment trusts (Dec 2020)
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