1889 – 2019: celebrating 130 years of the Merchants Trust

Simon Gergel

Portfolio Manager
The Merchants Trust PLC


This year marks the 130th anniversary of the formation of The Merchants Trust. And while the Merchants of today is very different to the one that was set up in 1889 its aims are remarkably similar: to deliver healthy growth of both capital and income for the ordinary investor, just as it did at launch.

The Trust’s initial focus was on railway expansion in the US, Canada and South America. Right from the start, however, the Trust diversified its portfolio across continents, countries and industries and this approach has been fundamental to its longevity – the ability to adapt to a changing world. Merchants has endured innumerable global crises and market crashes over its life but its spread of investments and its evolving strategy has enabled it to weather such storms and move forward.

The present-day Merchants invests solely in UK companies, but many of these companies are multinational businesses, so that investors have exposure to global markets. Generating a high income has always been part of Merchants’ make-up and following our AGM in May, we will have paid increasingly higher dividends year-on-year for the last 37 years. This makes Merchants one of the Association of Investment Companies’ ‘dividend heroes’.

Our criteria for deciding which shares we buy focuses on fundamentals. When market sentiment swings occur, as they did in 2018, we treat this as a potential opportunity to buy some really good companies at attractive prices. By really getting to the bottom of what’s going on, we can sometimes identify companies that are fundamentally sound, but where we think the market may have just got it wrong.

Reaching 130 is a remarkable achievement, in a world obsessed with short-term market movements, political and economic risks. The investment trust structure has helped, allowing us to take a long-term investment perspective and not get buffeted around too much by short term ‘noise’. The Trust’s focus on long-term capital and income growth is as relevant now as it was in 1889 and we are resolute in our aim to continue providing a good home for investors’ money.


Important informationThis is no recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any particular security. Investing involves risk. The value of an investment and the income from it may fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the full amount invested. A ranking, a rating or an award provides no indicator of future performance and is not constant over time.

This is a marketing communication issued by Allianz Global Investors GmbH, an investment company with limited liability, incorporated in Germany, with its registered office at Bockenheimer Landstrasse 42-44, D 60323 Frankfurt/M, registered with the local court Frankfurt/M under HRB 9340, authorised by Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (www.bafin.de). Allianz Global Investors GmbH has established a branch in.

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