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NZIT's performance picks up

The New Zealand Investment Trust share holders are pleased to see the fund's performance has picked up after a number of years of awful performance.

Tuesday, January 23rd 2001, 11:20PM

by Philip Macalister

The New Zealand Investment Trust (NZIT) has reported a much-improved performance in the 12 months to October after a number of awful years and the appointment of its third set of advisers.

The UK based trust, which is dual listed in New Zealand and London, has recorded a negative return of 43 per cent over the past three years.

However, in the 12 months ending October 31 the fund's net asset value has risen 9% from $4.61 to $5.01

In April last year the previous advisers, Coronet Asset Management, were sacked and shareholders had to vote whether to continue the trust.

They said yes to that question and appointed BT Funds Management and Fisher Funds Management to become the fund's advisers. (They are employed to advise the UK-based manager Exeter which stocks to buy and sell).

BT looks after 75% of the portfolio and is responsible for the large cap stocks and the Australian investments, while Fisher Funds looks after the small company investments.

Fisher Funds managing director Carmel Fisher says she has sold most of the 12 stocks she inherited and has changed the focus of the holdings from value to growth.

NZIT has, like many other UK trusts, been buying back shares to help the fund's performance.

The company says it bought 192,670 shares during the financial year at a significant discount to net asset value.

Credit Suisse First Boston UK investment trust expert Peter Irwin says while the buyback isn't of "significant size", it is a smart move by the company to help its performance.

Chairman Don Campbell says the manager can continue to buyback shares, but will make any purchases "judiciously". While the move enhances the fund's value, it also reduces its size and therefore increases its running costs relative to net assets.

The fund continues to trade at a discount to nav of about 17%.

Irwin says although the fund has been doing quite well, compared to previous performance, there isn't a lot of buying pressure yet.

You can read Philip's blog here: http://www.goodreturns.co.nz/blog/

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