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Taking Stock

Our quarterly investment trust magazine.

An unexpected year?

Back in January, no one quite knew what 2017 had in store for investors. With Donald Trump sworn in at the White House, the UK headed towards Brexit and a series of key elections seemingly set to disrupt the European political establishment still further, the only certainty was uncertainty.

Realistically, none of us can predict the future with total confidence. But after the unexpected political shocks that defined 2016 and perhaps knocked the confidence of some experts, the new year felt framed with a similar feel of not knowing what’s coming next.

It’s a frequent mantra that markets do not like uncertainty. So not many would have expected that 2017 turned out to be a largely positive – and in some cases a record-breaking – year for many markets around the world.


  • Would you like that in small, medium or large? - Neil Hermon, Director of UK Equities for Janus Henderson Investors looks at the reasons small can be mighty, comparing the historical track record of the UK’s smaller companies to their FTSE 100 peers and delving into the theory behind their relative outperformance.
  • Weathering the storm: 10 years on - The decade since the credit crunch and Northern Rock collapse has offered at least one vital lesson for investors, although perhaps not the one some might have anticipated. Alliance Trust Savings’ James McCafferty takes a closer look at why it’s worth keeping your eye on the long-term prize.
  • A different view of UK companies - Alex Wright, Portfolio Manager of Fidelity Special Values PLC advocates a disciplined approach to contrarian investing, reflecting on what we can learn from the past when it comes to investing against the tide of personal opinion.
  • Following the rules: why it pays to invest in regulation-laden financials - Far from seeing regulation in a negative light, Standard Life Equity Income Trust PLC saw its potential to improve the overall health of the EU insurance sector. Experience is now beginning to bear out what was at the time a contrarian view. Thomas Moore explains the Trust’s approach.
  • The Merchants Trust: looking back in time in order to invest for the future - Simon Gergel, Portfolio Manager of Merchants Trust PLC agrees that the benefit of hindsight can help us to appreciate and fathom past market trends, but argues this is no substitute for an investment strategy focused on identifying solid businesses with good prospects for growth.
  • Is your multi-asset fund built to manage risk? - Data shows that volatility risk in equity markets is at a 25-year low but Mike Brooks, Head of Diversified Multi-Asset at Aberdeen Asset Managers believes anyone who relies on this does so at their peril. Making sure your fund is well diversified remains key, and he explains how.
  • Positive outlook for US economy - Donald Trump’s election sent shockwaves across the globe. Yet looking at US economic data, investor and business confidence are the highest the country has seen since the turn of the century. One reason Blackrock remains bullish on the US for those seeking longterm income and growth.
  • Going for rental growth - Will Fulton of UK Commercial Property Trust Limited explains why his experience and view of property market trends has seen him reposition the Trust’s assets away from retail premises towards industrial and logistics warehouse property.
  • Brexit uncertainty drives UK domestic discounts - By historic standards, Sterling assets are now heavily discounted. Mark Barnett, Head of UK Equities at Invesco Perpetual explains why he believes sustained uncertainty around Brexit has created investment opportunities within more UK domestically exposed sectors.
  • Why diversify? - A number of the world’s leading stock markets hit new highs in 2017. But what if things had been different? Alliance Trust Savings’ Sara Wilson looks at the historical case for diversification, and how it can help protect your portfolio from whatever the market may bring.
  • Dependable dividends - Studying dividend performance over the long term has helped Scottish American Investment Company co-managers, James Dow and Toby Ross, to identify the characteristics of businesses that are best placed to offer dependability of dividends. They explain how.

Please remember the value of your investments and any income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount you originally invested.

All investments carry an element of risk which may differ significantly. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any particular investment or product, you should seek professional financial advice.

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Alliance Trust Savings Limited is a subsidiary of Alliance Trust PLC and is registered in Scotland No. SC 98767, registered office, PO Box 164, 8 West Marketgait, Dundee DD1 9YP; is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, firm reference number 116115. Alliance Trust Savings gives no financial or investment advice.