Investment Trusts: Put your trust in Scots' know-how: Paul Durman gets to grips with what's on offer from big investment firms

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The Independent Online
Baillie Gifford manages about pounds 1.6bn of investment trust money out of total funds of more than pounds 8bn. The flagship trust is Scottish Mortgage, with pounds 1bn. The firm manages six other trusts. This partnership, has been the most successful of the Scottish firms at winning business from UK pension funds, for which it looks after pounds 4bn.

Gavin Gemmell, senior partner, believes the firm's good investment results owe much to the stability of ownership and the continuity of personnel.

Ivory & Sime, a listed company, manages 12 trusts with combined funds of pounds 1.65bn. The group looks after a total of pounds 3.7bn. It recently launched the innovative Isis trust, which took a disappointing pounds 26m despite heavy promotion. Gordon Neilly, finance director, rejects suggestions that Ivory is accident- prone. He says the new management under Allan Munro has, in three years, increased funds under management by 70 per cent.

Edinburgh Fund Managers' Asian trust, EFM Dragon, took over Drayton Asia Investment Trust earlier this year, strengthening its Far East specialism. Edinburgh's largest fund is the pounds 725m British Investment Trust. The firm manages this on behalf of CIN, which looks after British Coal's pension funds. Edinburgh's shares are listed on the stock market; CIN has an interest in 55 per cent of them through its controlling stake in British Investment Trust.

Martin Currie manages pounds 1.1bn in five investment trusts, the largest being Scottish Eastern, with pounds 650m. The privately owned firm has total funds under management of pounds 3.1bn. Michael Gibson, director of client services, says the firm's fastest growth is coming from North American pensions fund, for which it manages dollars 600m. Martin Currie's most recent launches, and the only ones in the last 60 years, were its Pacific and European trusts in 1985 and 1990.

Murray Johnstone manages nearly pounds 1.1bn of investment trust money. Its largest fund is Murray International, with net assets of pounds 400m.

Michael Parlett, a director, says Murray Johnstone has long recovered from the unease caused when the firm was unsuccessfully put up for sale in 1989. Giles Weaver, formerly with Prudential, has recently taken over as managing diretor after a spell as chief investment officer.

The firm looks after pounds 4.25bn, pounds 1.5bn of it from UK pension funds. It has 4,500 investors using its savings scheme.

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