Investment Trusts for Beginners

What is an Investment Trust?

Here's the lowdown on what makes up an investment trust

Investment trusts offer people an easy way to access a collection of investments which have been picked for them by a team of experts. Fund managers work on the basic idea that they pool together collections of shares and investments, grouped by regions or themes, and offer these to investors as an easy way to get access to global markets.

There are a few different structures used to pool together these investments. The most common are 'funds' and 'investment trusts'. Here’s the lowdown of what makes up an investment trust.



It's a company

An investment trust is actually a company in its own right – its business is the buying and selling of investments to try and make a profit for shareholders.


The company issues a fixed number of shares which are traded on the London Stock Exchange

For the larger investment trusts, this offers their customers liquidity – in other words, it’s easy to buy and sell your holdings on the stock market. It also provides a good deal of transparency, access and information.


The value of all the assets held by the trust is known as the NAV – the net asset value

The NAV is calculated by adding all shares and cash belonging to the trust and dividing by the number of shares in the trust (known as the 'shares in issue').


Sometimes the shares can trade at a ‘discount’

Logically speaking one might think that the shares would always be worth the value of all the underlying investments. However investor sentiment plays a part. Sometimes an unloved sector or lukewarm sentiment can push the price of the investment trust shares below the value of the total pool of underlying investments. When this happens the trust is said to be ‘trading at a discount’.


They can also trade at a ‘premium’

Conversely, there are times when investor enthusiasm or positive perceptions fuel demand for the shares, and this high demand pushes the price of the shares in the investment trust higher than the value of the underlying holdings. This is called trading ‘at a premium’.


Investment trusts can hold a large number of assets

Like other pooled investments, investment trusts allow investors easy access to a broad diversified portfolio.

Currently the Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust is invested in 99 companies and 22 different countries (as at 31/07/2018). Discover what is in the TEMIT portfolio.


Investment trusts can borrow, or ‘gear’

This can magnify returns when a trust borrows and its portfolio of shares grow in value. But the opposite effect is that it can increase losses if a trust borrows and its holdings fall in value.


Investors are Shareholders

This means you have a say in how the company is run and who is elected to the Board of Directors. This independent Board is there to represent your interests, aiming to maximise value for money for each investor.

Find out who is on the TEMIT Board of Directors.

Important Information

This document is intended to be of general interest only and does not constitute legal or tax advice nor is it an offer for shares or invitation to apply for shares of the Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust (“TEMIT”). Nothing in this document should be construed as investment advice.

The value of shares in, or the income received from, the Fund can go down as well as up, and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Past performance is not an indicator or a guarantee of future performance.